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Four-Million-Two-Hundred-Thousand Dollar Federal Grant Goes To Greater Hartford

New Haven Gets $16.4M For Route 34 Project

By DON STACOM

October 15, 2010

HARTFORD Greater Hartford landed a $4.2 million federal grant Friday to plan transportation and housing initiatives, and New Haven received $16 million to start reconstructing part of Route 34 as an urban boulevard.

The Sustainable Communities Regional Planning Grant for the Hartford region will be used to plan housing near the proposed New Britain-to-Hartford busway and along the route of the Springfield-to-New Haven rail line.

Sen. Christopher Dodd said the grant will encourage modern development along the major transportation corridors.

"As Connecticut communities recover from the recession, responsible and sustainable planning will help create affordable housing options for families, take advantage of our public transportation infrastructure, and spur economic development by connecting businesses with workers and consumers," Dodd said in a statement.

As chairman of the Senate committee on banking, Dodd has been advocating for a bill to provide competitive planning grants for communities that produce long-term "sustainability" plans that weave together transportation, housing and land-use policies.

Sen. Joseph Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut, and Rep. John Larson, D-1st District, said the grant ultimately will help dozens of communities along the Springfield-to-New Haven corridor.

Also on Friday, Dodd and Lieberman joined Rep. Rosa DeLauro in announcing a $16.4 million federal TIGER grant for the Downtown Crossing project in New Haven. The city will use it to convert part of Route 34 from a limited access highway into urban boulevards between Union Avenue and College Street. Proponents say the project will open 11 acres of developable land downtown, reunite neighborhoods divided by the highway and improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.

"Route 34 has divided New Haven's downtown for decades, and for just as long, we have been trying to reconnect the pieces," DeLauro said.

Bridgeport also got $11 million from the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery program. The city will use it for road and infrastructure improvements as part of its Steelpointe Harbor commercial, housing and marina initiative.

The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the New Haven and Bridgeport funding through its TIGER II program. All 50 states were competing for a share of the $600 million fund. Last February, Connecticut was shut out altogether when the agency handed out $1.5 billion in its initial round of TIGER grants.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
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