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Wilton's Boucher: State May Need To Prioritize Transportation Projects

State Senator Toni Boucher comments on the $575 million released by the State Bond Commission for transportation infrastructure.
State Senator Toni Boucher comments on the $575 million released by the State Bond Commission for transportation infrastructure. Photo Credit: File

WILTON, Conn. – State Sen. Toni Boucher (R-Wilton) says the release of nearly $600 million by the State Bond Commission for the transportation infrastructure of the New Haven to Hartford rail line is long overdue, but she said the state should be cautious about allocating funding.

“The release of $575 million for the construction of six new railroad stations on the New Haven to Hartford line is long overdue. The 62-mile stretch of commuter rail line has been underutilized for decades. Necessary, reliable and a safe transportation infrastructure is a core state function. We are in desperate need of better service, replacements, repairs and upgrades to roads, rails, bridges and ports,” said Boucher.

Boucher represents Bethel, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport and Wilton in the 26th Senate District.

But she warns that there should be “caution” with the allocation of funds.

"The legislature should closely monitor the amount of general obligation bonds that this governor has already promised as the taxpayers can only bear so much. No matter how well intentioned, it would be unwise to extend bonding beyond what is considered necessary given the state's tenuous financial position,” she continued.

"If we are to stretch tax dollars in a responsible manner, we should prioritize how bonding is distributed. Some ‘nice to have’ projects may need to make way for more important ones, ones that affect the greatest number commuters, have a major impact on the state's economy and those that will address deteriorated infrastructure that put the public's 's safety at risk.”

Boucher suggests that a long-term plan should be put in place to prioritize infrastructure projects.

Boucher, as ranking member of transportation committee, will be proposing a bill to require the Department of Transportation to put the rail contract out to bid, garner support for Connecticut to have voting members on the Metro North Administrative board and prioritize spending of transportation dollars on transportation needs.

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