Note To Ned: Keep The Trains Running On Time (And Fixed)

Governor-elect Ned Lamont will receive a lot of advice over the next two months–whether he wants to hear it or not–as he transitions to state chief executive. Commuter advocate Jim Cameron has a lot to say about transportation in Connecticut. He shares some thoughts in this note to Ned that appeared in the CT Post.

Well, you did it. Congratulations on your election. And my condolences. The easy part of politics–getting elected–is over. Now comes the hard part: being governor.

I hope you and your transition team are already working on that budget that’s due in three months. There’s a lot of red ink ($4 billion) that needs to be mopped up. And don’t forget those $80 billion in unfunded pensions. But I’m sure you’ve got the solutions, right? That’s what you promised voters, anyhow. So have at it.

But as you are cutting and slashing, may I make a few suggestions on the transportation front? Your campaign assured us you’d fix our roads and rails, so I’m sure you have your ideas. But let’s see if these can help.

Keep your commissioner: Jim Redeker has been commissioner of the state Department of Transportation since 2011 and nobody knows better what’s working and what isn’t. He’s clearly the smartest guy in the room and you need his experience and talents. Let’s not lose him to another state.

Fix the trains first: You can’t keep high wage earners (and taxpayers) living in Connecticut if Metro-North continues its downward slide. Getting trains back up to speed and on time is crucial to the state’s economy.

Improve bus service: I hope you realize the CTFastrak bus rapid-transit system is hugely important and not the “waste of money” your opponent claimed. Not everyone in this state owns a car. For the 15 million riders who have used the system since it launched, those buses mean being able to get to their jobs. That is what we want, right–people working?

Ride mass transit: You campaigned at train and bus stations, now why not get on board? Set an example by taking the train from Greenwich to Hartford and riding the bus with your constituents. See the conditions first hand.

Get going with tolls: We both know they’re inevitable, despite your opponents’ “tolls are a tax” lie during the campaign. Let’s stop losing revenue to out-of-staters and truckers and make them pay for driving on our roads. Start with tolling trucks, though I doubt that’s legal.

Honor the lockbox: Voters have spoken loudly. The Special Transportation Fund is now padlocked. Don’t you dare think about picking that lock or letting the Legislature touch those funds for anything but transportation.

Please be honest: You and your opponents glossed over the tough issues in the campaign, making vague, general comments about improving our lives. You got the job, so now don’t give us any BS. Tell us about the hard choices to come. Embrace the FOI act. Be open and transparent–and honest. We’re adults. We can take it.

Don’t abuse the majority: Once again, the Democrats are in full control in Hartford. That’s a lot of power in a few hands and your party’s record on “reaching across the aisle” isn’t great. Our problems can only be solved with bi-partisan cooperation, so please set the best example.

That’s enough for now. Get some rest, maybe even a vacation, and we’ll talk again in the coming months.

Best wishes,

Jim Cameron, the “train guy”

(Lamont image courtesy: Ned Gerard / Hearst Connecticut Media)



  1. It looks like Jim Cameron was riding on a Bridgeport bus when suddenly the bus hit one of Bridgeport’s potholes near the end of his writing. I think he meant to say or write at the end: Don’t abuse as the majority or Don’t abuse the minority. Maybe he wished the Republicans were in the majority.

    1. CT Republican Legislators do not have a good record of reaching across the aisle. Maybe,with the departure of Joe Markey from the State Senate, there is a chance for change. On that note, Republican State Legislators/CT Republican Party needs to finally give up their obsession with abolishing the State of CT Income Tax. It’s been 27 years since Connecticut started the state income tax and “Governor” Lamont and both parties in the General Assembly need to finally recognize that the state income tax is here to stay and to work with a “three-legged tax stool” PLEASE…no smart-ass remarks to that(especially you,Joel Gonzalez :). The three taxes(or three legs to said stool) are;state income tax,state sales tax,property tax. Unless GA Republicans want to start talking about a VAT tax(another consumption tax,similar to the sales tax.) Without the state income tax,the stool will fall over.

        1. Get your head out of that hole in your guitar kid. The Democrats held the majority in the house and the senate when we had a Republican Governor. For how long was Governor Rell’s hands tied? A $4.5 billion state deficit and a $84 billion pension mess is not something you should be playing your guitar to. Do me a favor and stick Frank Gyure’s head in the guitar hole instead of your own.


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