Anna Barry, the Deputy DOT Commissioner, left after a few minutes, but City of Hartford employees remained at the table with Frog Hollow and Asylum Hill residents and stakeholders for over two hours.
Barry’s contribution to the meeting was acknowledgement that the City has been engaged in “vigorous discussion” with the Connecticut DOT and that no conclusion has been reached between those parties about what is an acceptable path forward.
The remaining several hours were spent discovering how many different ways it is possible for all present parties — Barry excluded, as she removed herself from the Studio at Billings Forge before this conversation launched — to have independently developed a distrust of the State’s transportation agency.
Although the State agency essentially ruled against itself months ago, it is trying to appeal that ruling. If the DOT loses this appeal, it may stall CTfastrak progress and the State would have to give approximately half a million dollars back to the Federal government. There have been discussions between the State and City regarding the possibility of a settlement, but with the DOT’s use of noncommittal language, none of that lost trust was re-earned by those at Thursday evening’s meeting.
Residents questioned the likelihood of the DOT fulfilling any possible financial obligation, with some calling the agency “disrespectful” and others equating it with an “occupying force.” Some residents wondered aloud if civil disobedience would be a more effective way of dealing with the DOT.
Reprinted with permission of Kerri Provost, author of the blog RealHartford.
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