Since its formation in 1970, the Business Council has sought to improve transportation conditions in southwestern Connecticut. In the early years, it worked for improved I-95 access to Stamford and strategic investments in rail facilities and service.
By 1980, it had moved its emphasis from capacity to the performance of the overall system. It formed MetroPool, the nationally-recognized ridesharing brokerage in 1980 and led the successful fight to remove tolls as a safety hazard in 1986. In the early 1990’s, The Business Council led the effort to adopt common-sense state policies implementing potentially draconian federal mandates contained in the Clean Air Act.
Since 1995, The Business Council has sought to elevate the priority assigned to transportation in statewide public policy dialogues. (Read more in our Milestones.)
Today, the organization leads or participates in a number of organizations that play important roles in transportation policy development and in providing congestion reduction services. Volunteers and staff of The Business Council also serve in a number of “economic competitiveness” advisory bodies, where they seek to assure that transportation issues are included in the broader agenda.
The current generation of issues focus on creating a multimodal system that makes inter- and intrastate travel more efficient and predictable.
30 | 30 | 30: Making rail a competitive advantage in our multimodal system
The tri-state regional transportation system is at a critical juncture.
Rail investments made in New Jersey, Long Island and on New York’s Harlem and Hudson Lines have cut travel times and increased levels of service. These investments have stimulated significant economic growth. According to recent reports, in New Jersey, travel to New York City on Manhattan Direct has reduced trip times by 14 minutes while the assessed value of property adjacent to the stations on that rail line have increased 42%. In contrast, Connecticut has consistently underinvested in the New Haven Main Line and its Danbury, New Canaan and Waterbury Branch Lines for over 30 years. The Regional Plan Association has estimated that the New Haven Line needs an additional $3.6 billion to replace and upgrade the rail infrastructure. That estimate rises to $5 billion when looking to further improve the line’s overall speed and reliability.
The Business Council believes that the creation of a Connecticut High Speed Commuter Rail Transportation System linking Hartford to New Haven to Stamford to New York City in 30 minute travel time increments will be the backbone of Connecticut’s 21st century economy. Far beyond the current Connecticut Department of Transportation’s five year capital construction plan, this vision will require a master plan that links rail investments to a rigorous economic development analysis and a prioritization of investments and land use decisions.
Prioritizing Transportation in CT
January 7, 2015, Governor Dannel Malloy declared a new focus on upgrading the state’s transportation infrastructure after two generations of neglect. Malloy said,
We know that transportation and economic growth are bound together. States that make long-term investments in their infrastructure can have vibrant economies for generations. States that don’t, will struggle…
To be competitive regionally, nationally, and internationally, we need a transformation. For our roads, bridges, rails, and ports – even our walkways and bikeways…To make us more business friendly, to attract new companies and more jobs, to improve our quality of life, and make our state an even better place to raise a family.
Following the Governor’s address, The Business Council delivered a report to its Transportation Roundtable of the transportation work required by the state to remain economically competitive, and the options facing it in the context of other regional infrastructure investments. The full presentation is available below or download here.
Metro-North Timetable Study
What are the long-term trends in the history of New Haven line rail transportation? This in-depth report shows the change in New Haven Line travel times compared to travel times of other regional commuter rail systems.
A Stronger Recovery, A Competitive Future: Meeting Our Infrastructure Financing Needs
Long-term investment is necessary to rebuild, enhance and transform Connecticut’s infrastructure systems. But what is the financial capacity for investment at the state and national levels? This report presents Connecticut’s infrastructure needs in the dual context of regional and national fiscal capabilities.