Plan Includes Commuter Line From New Britain To Hartford
July 10, 2006
By COURTNEY McLEOD, Courant Staff Writer
A proposed $44 million regional transportation plan includes millions for the proposed New Britain-to-Hartford busway and the extension of Route 72 in Plainville and Bristol.
Under the proposal, $19.6 million would be spent on the busway and $10.8 million would be spent on the extension, planned for fiscal 2007-08.
The allocations are part of the Central Connecticut Regional Planning Agency's transportation improvement plan, which outlines every major project in Berlin, Bristol, Burlington, New Britain, Plainville, Plymouth and Southington that receives federal funding.
Ken Shooshan-Stoller, deputy director of the agency, called the busway and highway extension projects "vitally important" for the area.
A plan for the New Britain-Hartford Busway was first floated in the late 1990s, when a $3.7 million set of studies commissioned by the state found that a busway would be the cheapest way to ease highway traffic and would lure the most riders. The plan, which gained major traction this year, includes seven stops between New Britain and Hartford on a dedicated bus route. Engineers estimate that riding the express bus would cut New Britain to Hartford commuting time in half, to 22 minutes.
"The busway has the potential to change the face of transit for the whole region," Shooshan-Stoller said.
The other major project, the Route 72 extension, will give Bristol a connection to I-84 and should alleviate congestion on Route 6.
Money for the $44 million plan comes from federal, state and local governments: $35 million in federal funds, $8 million in state funds and $35,000 in local funds.
The Regional Planning Agency will hold a public meeting on July 25 at 6 p.m. at its offices at 225 North Main St., Suite 304, in Bristol to answer questions. Comments from the meeting will become part of the final report that will be sent to the Connecticut Department of Transportation, the Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration.
The final plan is scheduled to be approved on July 27.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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