HARTFORD, CT - Connecticut State House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz announced today that Representative Roland Lemar (D-New Haven) will be appointed House Chairman of the Transportation Committee when the General Assembly convenes its 2019 legislative session on Wednesday.
“I am honored that Speaker Aresimowicz asked me to help lead our efforts to make Connecticut a model transit system. Whether traveling by bicycle, car, bus or train, residents must feel safe and secure. We need to invest in all of these areas and not only highways,” he said. “All modes of transportation are important and need our support.”
Lemar said the legislature and Governor Ned Lamont's administration are facing the controversial decision on how Connecticut will fund its many transportation needs, and highway tolls will be under consideration this session.
“Connecticut is one of only two states in the Northeast that does not use tolls to fund critical transportation infrastructure repairs and improvements, and our state's highways are in dire need of work. With all of the myths and misconceptions about what the implementation of tolls will mean for Connecticut, today’s tolls are not the dangerous, traffic-jamming structures of the past, and funds collected through tolls must be spent on transportation-related expenses as per federal law,” he said.
Lemar also emphasized there are other transportation issues the state is facing that are also important and deserve the legislature’s full attention.
“We have to invest in charging stations for electric vehicles and emphasize and Transit Oriented Design principles. As the lead author of the both the Electric Bicycle Bill and The Complete Streets legislation at the state level and the City of New Haven’s Complete Streets Ordinance and manual, we’ve made progress but more needs to be done to protect pedestrians and people on bicycles,” he said.
That philosophy, Lemar said, goes hand and hand with initiatives such as transit-oriented development, which has both an economic incentive as well as encourages commuters to utilize alternative means of transportation such as trains, buses, and bicycles.
Susan Smith, executive director of Bike Walk Connecticut, praised Lemar’s appointment.
“This is a crucial and pivotal time for both supporting and transforming Connecticut's transportation systems. Representative Lemar has been a strong and well-informed voice on Connecticut transportation issues, and we thank him for his work on active transportation issues for cyclists and pedestrians across the state,” she said.
Sandra Fry, Hartford’s senior project manager, and bicycle and pedestrian coordinator, also said she looks forward to working with Representative Lemar on transportation issues.
“Representative Lemar understands the concerns of bicycle and pedestrian advocates and has worked to put legislation in place that improves the safety of these roadway users,” she said.
Fry also chairs the Connecticut Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board.