Ceremonial groundbreaking for busway project [WTNH.com]

May 24, 2012

Article as it appeared on WTNH.com

ARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — It was trap rock instead of dirt inside a tent for the ceremonial groundbreaking for what has been known for over a decade as the busway project.

“The New Britain to Hartford busway…now known as CTFastrak,” said Commissioner James Redeker, “from now on CTFastrak.”

The half billion dollar project for the nearly 10 mile bus-only highway with 11 stops is expected to be completed by late 2014.

“I’ve only been Governor for 16 months,” said Governor Dannel Malloy, “this project has been pending for 16 years and it’s high time that we get going.”

The buses will run every three to five minutes from 4:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m, but despite all the green lights and a massive infusion of federal dollars there is still strong opposition to the project.

“I don’t think there’s the ridership,” said Sen. Joe Markley. “I think we have existing bus service between New Britain and Hartford…there’s not enough ridership to justify the construction of a $600 million busway.”

However, for members of the hard pressed construction trades this is a project sent from heaven.

“Well over 1,000 jobs will be created and it’s desperately needed,” said Ed Reilly, Building Trades Council, “the construction trades are at 40 percent unemployment the last couple of years, so this is a great day for us.”

The Governor also makes the argument that when the replacement of the I-84 elevated highway begins, a project as big as the Q-Bridge in New Haven, that CTFastrak will find many commuter converts taking the bus.

“What I’m honestly saying is that when that project gets underway in earnest, we’re going to need alternative ways to deliver more people to Hartford,” said Malloy, “and this also needs to be seen in that context.”