Sen. Hwang blasts fare hikes & service cuts

October 20, 2023

For Immediate Release:

Sen. Hwang Blasts Fare Hikes and Service Cuts

State Senator Tony Hwang, Ranking Senator on the Transportation Committee, today issued the following statement regarding fare hikes and service cuts for public transportation:

“We fought hard and spoke out loudly against these hikes and cuts. The decision-makers didn’t listen. Critics said that it was a done deal from the start. This was all a big show, and the voices of commuters were never going to be heard. I tried not to believe that initial cynicism, but this process and experience seems to reinforce that perception.

The public hearings were a major disappointment in transparency and accountability. Attendance at the public and zoom hearings was paltry. Despite our repeated requests, no public hearings were held in Fairfield County in order to give the highest number of rail commuters a voice and input. A ‘pop up’ meeting was all we were granted. Summed up by the many commuters I spoke to at rail stations in our region, they all believed that this was a fait accompli, and they had no choice but to just accept it. The men and women who ride the train are a captive audience, and they seem to have given up on Connecticut. The State of Connecticut is again reaching deeper into commuters’ pockets. How disrespectful to the commuters we are supposed to serve and represent.

This is how you kill a railroad. Cut service. Raise fares. Discourage ridership. Then ridership drops. That scenario then provides more excuses for further cuts. The state is now asking commuters to pay more for less service. So, it’s ‘Mission Accomplished’.

Our Senate Republican caucus put forth an alternative budget that fully funded rail services, but the majority did not have the appetite for it.

Finally, this policy is inconsistent with the state government’s commitment to reducing air pollution to combat climate change. It will put more commuters into vehicles and onto our already congested highways. What happened to our efforts to create a greener, less fossil-fueled economy and an improved transportation system? This policy makes a mockery of those efforts.”