CONGRESSMAN JIM HIMES

Representing the 4th District of Connecticut

Himes: New Report Underscores Need for Transportation Investments

December 23, 2014
Press Release

Stamford, CT — Congressman Jim Himes (CT-4) today highlighted a new report that shows how the average driver in the Bridgeport-Stamford area loses almost $1,900 annually due to roads that are congested, deteriorated and unsafe. Himes said the report, released today by the national transportation group TRIP, underscores the need for long-term federal transportation investments to create jobs and improve the safety and efficiency of Connecticut's highway and transit networks.

"This report shows how our region's deteriorated, overburdened transportation system continues to drain precious time and money from Fairfield County commuters and businesses,” Himes said. “Our transportation infrastructure is the foundation on which we build economic growth and create jobs, and we can't afford to neglect it any longer. We need a long-term transportation bill that invests in our crumbling roads, bridges and railways to ensure the safety of our people and make our economy more competitive.”

Connecticut drivers lose $4.2 billion each year due to the inadequate condition of the state’s roads and bridges, according to the TRIP report. In the Bridgeport-Stamford area, drivers lose $1,885 annually. The study also found that 41 percent of Connecticut's major urban roads and highways are in poor condition, and more than one-third of the state's bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.

The TRIP report found that traffic congestion in the Bridgeport-Stamford corridor costs each driver 42 hours a year in delays and $902 annually in lost time and wasted fuel.

 “This report does an excellent job quantifying what motorists all over Connecticut can tell you first hand—that our roads and bridges are in need of repair. Governor Malloy has announced that transportation will be a top priority in 2015, and for very good reason. Rebuilding our transportation infrastructure will support a great many jobs, and is essential to the health of our economy and our quality of life,” said Connecticut State Sen. Bob Duff (Norwalk).

“Connecticut’s business community is backing Governor Malloy’s commitment to put the state’s transportation system front and center in his second term,” said Jack Condlin, president and CEO of the Stamford Chamber of Commerce. "Connecticut is doing its part to address our transportation challenges. We need our federal partners to do their part by passing a long-range federal transportation bill.”

“These conditions are only going to worsen if greater funding is not made available at the state and federal levels,” said Will Wilkins, TRIP’s executive director. “Congress can help by approving a long-term federal surface transportation program that provides adequate funding levels, based on a reliable funding source. If not, Connecticut is going to see its future federal funding threatened, resulting in fewer road and bridge repair projects, loss of jobs and a burden on the state’s economy.”

The efficiency of Connecticut’s transportation system, particularly its highways, is vital to the health of the state’s economy.  The Federal Highway Administration estimates that each dollar invested in road, highway and bridge improvements results in an average benefit of $5.20 in the form of reduced vehicle maintenance costs, reduced delays, reduced fuel consumption, improved safety, reduced road and bridge maintenance costs and reduced emissions as a result of improved traffic flow.

The federal surface transportation program is a critical source of funding in Connecticut.  From 2008 to 2012, the federal government provided $1.76 for road improvements in Connecticut for every dollar the state paid in federal motor fees. In July, Congress approved an eight-month extension of the federal surface transportation program, which will now run through May 31, 2015. The legislation will also transfer nearly $11 billion into the Highway Trust Fund to preserve existing levels of highway and public transportation investment through the end of May 2015. 

In Congress, Himes is an original cosponsor of legislation that would establish a National Infrastructure Bank (H.R. 2553), which would use federal dollars to leverage private investment through loans and guarantees. This proposal offers a new way to objectively fund our nation’s critical infrastructure projects at a time when fiscal constraints at all levels of government are making financing by conventional means difficult.