OUR VIEW: 21st-century road woes on a 1993 budget

By:  Editorial
Bristol Press

Gov. Dannel Malloy isn’t the only one concerned about the condition of Connecticut’s roads and rails. This week, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy launched his ‘Fed Up’ initiative to hear from real people about their commutes and gather ideas about how we can make things better — and how we can pay for the improvements.

His message: “Connecticut has some of the worst traffic and the oldest infrastructure in the nation. As a result, thousands of commuters find themselves stuck in traffic or stalled on the train. But traffic, congestion, and delays are more than abstract concepts that affect commerce or productivity. Traffic means stress. Congestion means being late for work. Delays mean missing dinner with your kids night after night.”
Because, he said, “We’re running a 2015 set of roads and rails on 1993 dollars.”

Perhaps to underline the contrast between our out-of-date roads and today’s needs, Murphy used Periscope to livestream his commute from Milford to Norwalk. (Periscope is a live streaming video mobile app. It enables you to become your own “on the go” broadcasting station, streaming video and audio to any viewers who join your broadcast.)

Murphy chronicled his hour-long commute on I-95, sharing stories from Connecticut commuters, taking questions and live-tweeting responses.

Gov. Malloy, of course, has often spoken about the cost of our failing infrastructure to the state in terms of moving goods across our highways — and obviously that’s important to our economy.
But we like also like the fact that Murphy is adding in the human cost of sitting in traffic or, perhaps worse, white-knuckle driving during rush hour.

He hopes to explore this in greater detail by asking commuters to participate in an online survey at his Fed.up website. The survey requires users to submit their name, email address and mailing address along with their answers to questions about the length of their commute, its impact on their lives and their ideas for improvements.

The senator, who is a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations’ subcommittee dealing with transportation, said he will use the feedback — your feedback — to secure more federal investment in rail and road improvements.

Will that be enough to make a difference in today’s splintered Congress? Who knows. But at least it lets us do something about a situation that we would otherwise just complain about.