Connecticut's transportation package signed into law

| Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Gov. M. Jodi Rell signed a bill May 15 that is being lauded as a major step toward addressing Connecticut’s traffic problems.

The 10-year, $2.3 billion transportation package, which will pay for mass-transit projects without requiring tolls or increasing the state’s fuel tax, won widespread support in the state’s House and Senate.

The initiative, previously HB5844, includes some money to study highway projects. Those projects include the completion of the engineering and design phase of widening Interstate 84 between Waterbury and Danbury, as well as environmental planning and assessment for the expansion of Interstate 95 between Branford and the Rhode Island line.

In addition, it requires Connecticut officials to start formal discussions with Massachusetts, New York and Rhode Island on ways to enhance freight and regional commuter mobility.

The legislation is the second step in a major plan to improve the state’s transportation system, The Associated Press reported. A year ago, lawmakers approved a 10-year, $1.3 billion initiative for roads and rail.

About $1 billion of this year’s package will be bonded. The rest of the money will come from the federal government and a gross receipts tax on motor fuels, which now go into the state’s general fund.

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