ELECTION 2014: Connecticut gubernatorial candidates on transportation

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | 10/28/2014

One week from today voters in Connecticut will head to the ballot box, if they haven’t already filled out an absentee ballot, and cast votes for elected officials that include the governor.

Gov. Dan Malloy is seeking a second term at the helm. The Democratic governor is running against Republican businessman Tom Foley.

One issue that is drawing attention during the lead-up to Election Day is transportation. The candidates recently attended a forum in North Haven, Conn., to discuss the topic.

Malloy touted his record on spending money to benefit transportation. He compared investments made during his tenure with administrations dating back 30 years ago.

“We are far outspending every one of those administrations. We are focused on transportation,” Malloy said. “This administration is committed to building out the infrastructure that should have been built over the last 25 years.”

Foley said the governor’s actions while in office are nothing to brag about. He said there is much more that needs to be done to improve highways. Specifically, he said the governor has failed to put enough resources toward addressing “choke points” around the state. He singled out congestion problems between New Haven and New York.

The Republican challenger also accused Malloy of trying to “push people out of their cars” by focusing too much on mass transit.

“Mass transit is a great thing and something we absolutely need, but it isn’t an answer for everyone. … Many people need to be in their cars,” Foley said.

Instead, Foley said he would like to set up a board to determine and prioritize the state’s infrastructure needs.

The governor said if he is re-elected he will increase resources for roads, bridges and transit. He also said the state needs to enhance its rail system to work like a subway system by adding trains, stations and stops.

Malloy and Foley have said they are not interested in tax increases. Instead, they have indicated a willingness to discuss tolls if certain conditions are met.

Tolls have been off limits in the state since the mid-’80s when state officials removed tolls from the Connecticut Turnpike.

Foley said he would consider tolls as a traffic management solution. He emphasized he would support the funding option only if it meant that other tax rates, including the fuel tax, would be reduced.

Malloy said toll taxes are worth considering if federal aid to states continues to dry up. However, he said toll revenue would need to be applied to new projects that would reduce congestion.

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