June 16, 2011

Sen. Joe Markley looks on as a West Hartford mom signs a petition to force the Dept. of Environmental Protection to hold a public hearing on the busway from New Britain to Hartford.

West Hartford, CT – Today Senator Joe Markley (R-Southington) and Representative Whit Betts (R-Bristol) gathered signatures on a petition to secure a public hearing on the environmental impact of the New Britain to Hartford Busway.

“We are very concerned that the waterways in these towns will be destroyed without regard to the environment,” said Senator Markley. “For such a large project, paid for by the taxpayers of Connecticut, a public hearing should be held to make sure we are not throwing the environment under the bus – literally.”

The state is looking to build a 9.4 mile long Busway from New Britain to Hartford, using nearly half a billion in taxpayer dollars. The state Department of Transportation estimates that the cost will be more than $573 million. That works out to be more than $60 million per mile, or $952 per inch.

The state specifically is trying to waive a public hearing on getting inland wetlands, stream and watercourse permits to start construction in the towns of New Britain, Newington, West Hartford and Hartford.

The waterways affected include Piper Brook, Bass Brook, Kane Brook, Trout Brook, and the Park River.

“The public deserves to know how this will impact their community. We only need 25 signatures on our petition to be granted a public hearing by the Department of Environmental Protection,” said Representative Betts. “Surely the DEP won’t deny the people an opportunity to weigh in on a more than $573 million project. It’s their money and their neighborhood.”

Rep. Betts and Sen. Markley recently, sent a letter to Speaker of the House John Boehner asking him to stop federal funding of the project and are in contact with officials in Washington, D.C.

“This is a bridge to nowhere that we can not afford,” said Senator Markley.

After collecting enough signatures the lawmakers will file their petition with the Department of Environmental Protection. Once a hearing is granted, by law a notice will be published in local newspapers.

Today, Markley and Betts also launched a website dedicated to stopping the busway. To learn more, log onto