For the business community, transportation is a front running issue.
“I think we wanted to raise the profile of transportation as a policy issue in Connecticut and also talk about some of the concerns and frustrations of the business community,” says Peter Gioia, Vice President and Economist at the Connecticut Business and Industry Association.
The Stamford Chamber of Commerce and the Connecticut Business and Industry Association presented a summit on CT transportation issues Thursday. It’s the first meeting of its kind.
“We have been concerned that the congestion on our highway is now gotten back to the point that it’s really impacting business,” says Stamford Chamber of Commerce President Jack Condlin. “Right now the State of Connecticut is spending a lot of time and energy in recruiting new businesses to come into the state because they see that as a way to help solve the challenge that the state is having with it’s economic growth.”
Speakers addressed issues from railway improvements to road infrastructure to congestion on I-95.
“I-95 was built a half a century ago, designed for 50,000 vehicle trips a day,” says Condlin. “It now has 164,000 vehicle trips a day, so that is just a perfect menu to have congestion.”
“There’s a lot more that just has to be done in repair of roads, and bridges, and rail infrastructure here rather than some of the states that aren’t as old as us,” says Gioia.
Condlin says while some progress has been made, there’s much more to be done to improve transportation in the state.
“We really haven’t accomplished a lot in the past 15 or 20 years,” says Condlin. “We did get the M8 cars on the rail, that helped; we have done some operational lanes, but we should be way ahead of where we are now. And I think one of the goals of this summit, is to let’s get this stuff on the front burner.”