It’s the CT transportation system’s turn to feel the pain

“If our trains and buses rely on the Special Transportation Fund as it exists and is funded today, we will be back for more hearings like this for years to come. What we need is systemic change in how we fund transit. Yet I know of nobody in Hartford with the guts to be honest with commuters and taxpayers about what is coming.”

Bikes now allowed on Metro-North… sometimes

Days before the Connecticut Department of Transportation opens public hearings on a proposed 5 percent fare increase on Metro-North, Gov. Dannel Malloy held a media event to promote good news about “improved service” on our highest-fares-in-the-nation railroad. What? A return of the bar cars? More seats on crowded trains? No, nothing that monumental: just a new e-ticketing app and word that bike racks have been installed on our trains.

Connecticut’s rail history offers summer day-trip fun

If you’re looking for family fun this summer, consider visiting one of Connecticut’s many living museums celebrating our rail heritage… All of these museums are run by volunteers who will appreciate your patronage and support. They love working on the railroad and will tell you why if you express even the slightest interest in their passion.

Blame for transit hikes belongs on CT Democrats

In a recent opinion piece, lawmakers were blamed for the deep budget cuts impacting transportation and increasing Metro-North fares. That blame is half misplaced. You see, the op-ed wrongly grouped Democrat and Republican lawmakers together, and failed to recognize the stark differences in our approaches to improving transportation in Connecticut.

Don’t blame Malloy for transit fare hikes

Sure, it was sleazy of Gov. Dannel Malloy and the Connecticut Department of Transportation to release news of a proposed 5 percent fare hike on Metro-North on a Friday afternoon in July, hoping nobody would notice. But the more I dig into the proposal, the more I realize the governor and CDOT are not to blame. It’s the Connecticut legislature that’s really responsible for this fare hike.

A Connecticut DMV survivor tells all

I recently have returned from more than three solid hours at the Old Saybrook office of the Connecticut Department of Motor Vehicles. At the end of my long half-day’s journey into trauma, I came within an eyelash of having to come back another day. Warning: this tragicomic tale is not for the faint of heart.

Mileage tax study: Why pay for something CT doesn’t want or need?

There has been quite a lot of coverage lately about Connecticut’s interest in a mileage tax. Most of it focuses on how bad a mileage tax would be for the state. I agree, it would. People in Connecticut just can’t take on one more tax, and on top of that, a mileage tax raises too many privacy issues. But I don’t think that’s what the real story is. The story is really about trust, transparency, and inappropriate use of scarce resources.

Ferries are not the answer for Connecticut commuters

Recently, New York City Mayor DeBlasio announced a $325 million plan to re-introduce ferry boat service to the five boroughs, charging the same fare as subways. The mayor says these boats could carry 4.5 million passengers a year.

So why don’t we have ferries in Connecticut? There are several reasons:

Connecticut’s infrastructure dangling by a thread

The recent fire under the Park Avenue viaduct in Harlem, which disrupted commutes of a quarter million Metro-North riders, got me thinking: our aging, crumbling and vulnerable transportation infrastructure is close to collapse, and the effects of such failure could be catastrophic. Consider this track-record:

Connecticut’s ‘lockbox’ is log jammed at the Capitol

I hope you’ve been following CT-N to watch our dysfunctional legislature in recent weeks as they struggle to fill a $900 million budget gap. Not only could they not get a new budget together before adjourning (only to be summoned back this week for a special session), but the legislative logjam left several important measures in limbo. Among them, the long debated “lock box” for special transportation funding.