HARTFORD, CT - Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) Commissioner James P. Redeker last week released the findings of a study on the impact of widening and improving both the western and eastern portions of Interstate 95 in Connecticut, and outlined the consequences of failing to act.
Currently, peak morning and evening congestion on the highway accounts for 54 million hours of delay and costs $1.2 billion in lost time annually. The study finds that limited, strategic widening will yield major benefits and can be constructed within existing CTDOT property. The Governor’s revenue proposal – which includes a seven-cent increase in the gas tax over four years and the implementation of electronic tolling – would allow for these investments to go forward.
“Anyone who has traveled on I-95 during rush hour understands the urgency of addressing our congestion problems,” Governor Malloy said. “It hurts our economy. Every day, commuters spend hours in traffic and businesses face unnecessary burdens in getting products to market. The report released today outlines a commonsense path toward reducing congestion and improving safety on one of our busiest and most important roads.”
“CTDOT is excited to announce that after a detailed study of options for relieving congestion on I-95, we are able to report a stunning set of findings,” Commissioner Redeker said. “For years, the accepted thinking was that the only way to relieve congestion on I-95 was to add a lane in each direction from border to border. After a detailed study of alternatives, we have determined that strategic, directional widening on I-95 between New Haven and New York can significantly reduce congestion and can be built within existing CTDOT right of way. Similar strategic, localized investments can also reduce congestion between New Haven and Rhode Island. These findings indicate that we can achieve congestion relief through strategic and much less costly investments far sooner than previously thought. In addition, the return on these investments would far exceed the cost of the projects. Connecticut deserves this rational, sensible and cost-effective investment to support our economic growth.”
Among other findings, the report notes that just one of the projects proposed – adding one northbound lane between exits 19 and 28 – would reduce travel time from the New York border to Bridgeport from 63 minutes – if no improvements are made – to 41 minutes during weekday afternoon peak times. However, the Governor warned that without legislative action this session to shore up the Special Transportation Fund (STF), this type of investment will be impossible.
“These improvements shouldn’t be seen as optional,” Governor Malloy added. “But without new revenue to stabilize the Special Transportation Fund, critical projects like the I-95 widening will not be possible. I put forward a reasonable proposal last month, and I look forward to working with the legislature this year to find real, long-term transportation solutions.”
The I-95 widening projects were included in the $4.3 billion in projects canceled or suspended by the CTDOT last month because of long-term failure to adequately fund the STF.