Looking to put on a major show of public approval, supporters of the Hartford-New Britain busway are campaigning for a big turnout when state officials give a public update about the project Thursday evening.
"This bus rapid transit project will help relieve congestion on our most crowded highway, reduce pollution and oil consumption and encourage morepeople toopt for public transit," said Lori Brown, executive director of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters.
Brown wants to line up support for the session that begins at 6:30 p.m. at Central Connecticut State University's DiLoreto Hall. Her organization is distributing fliers with the headline "Tired of sitting in I-84 traffic?" and says that the busway would be the first major public transit initiative in Connecticut in decades.
The state Department of Transportation will discuss progress and the latest construction schedule for the $569 million bus-only highway. It would run 9.6 miles from downtown New Britain to downtown Hartford, and is being promoted as a way to cut commute times, create jobs and ease the rush-hour traffic jams on I-84.
Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra plans to join several state officials and business leaders in a public statement of support at 6 p.m. at CCSU's DiLoreto Hall before the DOT session begins on Thursday. Segarra and New Britain Mayor Timothy Stewart have both declared the busway would be a huge economic boost.
The New Britain Chamber of Commerce, the Capitol Region Council of Governments and New Britain's legislative delegation have endorsed the busway. The Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce, the state chapter of the Sierra Club, Newington's town government and most Bristol state legislators are opposing it, saying it's an overly expensive and outdated plan.
The council of governments has put out a publication making the case for the controversial busway: www.crcog.org/publications/Transportatio nDocs/NBHBusway/buswayexecbriefing.pdf.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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