WASHINGTON – After convening Connecticut commuters, business owners, and transportation leaders last month for a summit at the University of Bridgeport on improving Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) – a member of the U.S. Senate Appropriations Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD), and Related Agencies Subcommittee – submitted a set of recommendations identified by community leaders at the summit to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. Murphy sent the recommendations, which call on the administration to provide long-term federal investments across all modes of transportation, especially rail and bus transit, prior to the expected release of President Trump’s infrastructure plan.
“I write to submit recommendations to you that I gathered from community leaders from across Connecticut at a recent Transportation and Infrastructure Summit at the University of Bridgeport,” said Murphy. “It is not an exaggeration to say that Connecticut’s future depends on our transportation system; our state’s physical proximity to New York and Boston means little if people and goods cannot move quickly and safely using our existing infrastructure. I urge you to use the comments and the attached survey as you continue to develop the Administration’s infrastructure proposal.”
The summit Murphy hosted last month featured two panel discussions. Murphy took the feedback and stories he heard at the summit back to Washington with the goal of securing robust federal investments in rail and road improvements that support economic development and job creation throughout Connecticut. Last year, Murphy joined Senate Democrats in announcing a plan to invest $1 trillion in transportation infrastructure to rebuild America’s infrastructure projects over the next ten years and create 15 million jobs.
The full text of Murphy’s letter to Secretary Chao is below and online:
US Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Dear Secretary Chao:
I write to submit recommendations to you that I gathered from community leaders from across Connecticut at a recent Transportation and Infrastructure Summit at the University of Bridgeport. It is not an exaggeration to say that Connecticut’s future depends on our transportation system; our state’s physical proximity to New York and Boston means little if people and goods cannot move quickly and safely using our existing infrastructure. I urge you to use the comments and the attached survey as you continue to develop the Administration’s infrastructure proposal.
The Transportation and Infrastructure Summit I convened brought together local residents, city planners, business leaders, transportation advocates, and community organizations. Participants heard from two expert panels: one defining which infrastructure investments are critical to Connecticut and one outlining the present and future challenges of transportation for our state. Though the discussions were wide-ranging, the conversations yielded several consensus recommendations on what our state needs in the context of any potential infrastructure package. First, summit participants overwhelmingly agreed that any infrastructure package must be funded primarily through direct federal investment. Plans that are over-reliant on public-private partnerships will not address the vast majority of our state’s needs, while any plan that shifts the cost burden from the federal government to state and local governments will severely hamper infrastructure investment. Second, all participants agreed that significant investments in rail and bus transit must be included in the administration’s proposal. The transformative potential of faster, more frequent, resilient, and safe rail service for Connecticut and for states along the Northeast Corridor can hardly be overstated. Finally, participants at the summit agreed that all modes of transportation—particularly rail—need a stable source of federal funding to facilitate long-term financing and planning. I have included the results of a summit participant survey that provide further context for the aforementioned recommendations.
The intense interest in the Transportation and Infrastructure Summit undoubtedly reflects my state’s hope for a truly transformative federal infrastructure plan that addresses Connecticut’s needs. I too share that hope, and I commit to working with you and my Senate colleagues to realize that goal.
Thank you in advance for your consideration of these recommendations.
Christopher S. Murphy