In Connecticut, investment in transportation directly affects our economic growth and our quality of life. We should be building better roads, expanding rail capacity and making sure that air travel in the United States is second to none.
When you get stuck in traffic on I-95, or when an equipment malfunction on the New Haven line leaves you stuck on the train, it's more than frustrating – it's a drain on the economy and a hindrance to growth. Old train cars and outdated switching systems are not the way to get commuters to work in the 21st century. We need to upgrade our transportation systems now and put Americans back to work. I want to do both today. By investing in better roads, stronger bridges, and modern mass transit systems, we can put people back to work today by making the improvements we need to move people and goods around Connecticut more efficiently, save precious time, and spur sustained economic growth.
The Problem We Face
The United States used to have the best highways, railways and airports in the world. Year after year, however, we're watching them deteriorate. It's time to rebuild America.
Our transportation network must keep pace with the demands of a modern economy and an ever-changing population. If we accept the false economics of ideological budget-slashers, we'll simply fall further and further behind. By innovating and implementing a long-term regional vision for Southwestern Connecticut, we'll get people to work and home faster, get products to market more efficiently, provide the conditions for ongoing economic growth and help create a lot of new jobs along the way.
Expanding Capacity in Stamford, Bridgeport and Norwalk
To add jobs in our area, we need to add mass transit capacity to our cities.
I was proud to stand in Stamford last winter to announce a multi-million dollar TIGER grant to improve access to the Stamford train station and make improvements that will allow it to handle more passengers daily. Every dollar of that grant will be matched with more than three dollars of private investment to make the plan a reality. It's like hanging a giant “Welcome” sign in Stamford for visitors, commuters, and businesses everywhere. The Stamford Transportation center is already the busiest station between New York and Boston. This smart public-private partnership helps us ensure that we have room to grow and continue improving commutes for riders every day.
I've also worked to connect resources from the local, state, and federal governments to make the Pulse Point bus project in Norwalk a reality and to give mass transit in Bridgeport a boost. The transit hubs in both cities are expanding capacity while polluting less. That's good for all of us.
Supporting the Infrastructure Bank
When it comes to modernizing our transportation network, it's foolish to let rigid ideology rule the debate. We should provide seed money to get worthwhile projects off the ground through an Infrastructure Bank.
The Infrastructure Bank makes sense. By providing low-cost financing for the projects we need, our public investment can be matched – and exceeded – by private investment. And, we'll be putting people back to work on construction projects as soon as possible.
Envisioning the Cross Harbor Freight Tunnel
The only place a freight train can cross the Hudson and get into New England is up by Albany, New York. That's why we see so many tractor trailers moving the goods we need along I-95.
Next time you're moving too slowly along the Interstate, imagine removing half of the trucks from the road. Imagine replacing them all with freight trains. Imagine making it cheaper to move items to our stores along railroads instead. Imagine reducing the carbon footprint of all that freight. That is what we can do by building the Cross Harbor Freight Tunnel. If we build it, we can move more stuff more cheaply and reduce congestion on our overburdened highways.
I have joined other Members of Congress, most of whom hail from the Northeast, to push for this tunnel to be built. It's a bold vision. But it's a vision I embrace, because I know that it will benefit the people of Southwest Connecticut immeasurably.
Building a Better Merritt and New Roads in Every Town
I supported legislation to put Americans back to work improving the roads you use every day -- the Recovery Act. The work began in 2009 is now coming to an end. As a result, the Merritt Parkway can handle more volume through Fairfield and Trumbull and has been resurfaced where it needed it most. From Greenwich to Bridgeport, you've seen the workers on the job making your ride on the Merritt smoother and safer.
The Recovery Act funded improvements to the Danbury line of Metro-North and upgrades to stations along the New Haven line. It helped Connecticut put new, cleaner buses into service for mass transit, and roads in nearly every town have been repaved and rebuilt properly as well.
We've smoothed out a lot of bumps in the road. There are still miles to go.
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