FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. — Bus riders along the busy Route 1 corridor in Fairfield County may soon have more transportation options.
Gov. Dannel Malloy said the state will study the possibility of enhanced bus service between Norwalk and Stamford.
The study will build upon one conducted two years ago by Southwestern CT Regional Planning Association, a state official said.
The $400,000 study, which the State Bond Commission approved at its July 28 meeting, is scheduled to be completed next summer. Two consulting firms, Parsons Brinckerhoff and HNTB, are conducting the study.
Malloy said the study was needed, among other infrastructure improvements, to allow Connecticut to stay economically competitive.
“We've got to get going,” Malloy said, adding that a lack of spending on transportation for 40 years has “left Connecticut in a very tough spot.”
The lack of infrastructure is one of the reasons why the state is not “winning the war to grow jobs” against competitors such as Westchester County, N.Y.; New Jersey and Brooklyn, N.Y.
But Malloy said the situation can be improved.
“I believe we can turn this around in a relatively short period of time,” he said. “It is a long-term vision, however, that would have us spend billions of dollars over the next 30 years to undue the damage of the past.”
The new service would incorporate the latest technologies and enhanced passenger amenities, such as more frequent service, enhanced bus stop shelters and traffic signal preference. Buses approaching a traffic signal would be able to remotely turn the light green, for example, according to the state.
The goal of the bus study is to improve travel times and better serve the growing bus transit market in the region.
The announcement came after the opening of CTFastrak, a system of buses that operates on a dedicated right-of-way — essentially its own highway — between New Britain and Hartford.
State Transportation Commissioner James P. Redeker said CTFastrak has “taken off” and that investments in bus transportation is helping the economy.
Redeker’s sentiments were echoed by Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling, who joined Malloy for the announcement Monday afternoon.
“We’re so excited that so much investment is being put into this infrastructure,” Rilling said, adding the investment is an economic driver.
Rilling also praised Malloy’s efforts toward making improvements in the transportation infrastructure.
The governor’s five-year ramp-up plan includes $5.6 million for the purchase of new buses for this enhanced service, according to the state.
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