A Vote Against The Transportation Question

The Nov. 6 ballot includes two questions pertaining to Connecticut’s Special Transportation Fund and the disposition of state property. For explanation on these questions see here. Bridgeport policy wonk Jeff Kohut weighs in on the transportation question, declaring a “lockbox” is likely to cause more harm than good.

From Kohut:

Connecticut doesn’t have the pragmatic, farsighted, detailed, comprehensive, state economic development plan and companion policy that is needed to properly determine and guide the creation and implementation of an appropriate, comprehensive, detailed transportation-infrastructure plan/policy (as an essential component of the former), such that there are assurances that development is properly located/distributed and adequately served by indicated modes of transportation, at indicated levels.

Connecticut needs to create comprehensive, detailed, economic development and companion transportation plans/policy in order to move us out the economic doldrums and into a prosperous future. The next Connecticut government needs to waste no time in getting such (citizen-approved) plans and policy developed and implemented if we want to avoid slipping further into third-world socioeconomic status as a state.

As regards economic development planning and policy–and most areas of human endeavor–the first rule is DO NO HARM. In regard to economic development in this regard, we need to think in terms of being careful to not overdevelop or mal-distribute development in such a way that the environments, lifestyles, and economic well-being of those to be “served” by the development will be adversely impacted. That is to say, don’t develop in a way that will concentrate to air pollution, cause flooding problems, cause overly long commutes, mal-distribute jobs and tax base, cause traffic hazards, etc.. Development must be planned and implemented such that all regions of the state remain or become livable and prosperous. (At the present time, this status for the whole of Connecticut can only be achieved by planning around the revitalization of our decaying/distressed major urban centers.)

To have a “lockbox” that would accumulate and safeguard a major portion of state revenue for the transportation-infrastructure component of Connecticut’s current, haphazard, otherwise misguided economic development efforts (there is actually a total lack of planning and policy in this regard), is likely to cause more harm (and waste) than good. Without the creation of proper planning and policy, the harmful, counterproductive, geographically skewed concentration of development–with resultant traffic bottlenecking and statewide economic stagnation–will continue. A “locked box” of transportation funds, in the absence of proper development planning and policy, would likely serve to exacerbate transportation problems, and statewide economic stagnation/decay.

Where transportation conditions are dangerous and there is an immediacy of need, due to infrastructure disrepair/inadequacies, the state must act in a timely way to ensure public safety. Where development “ambitions” are the motivation for expansions and “improvements,” (e.g., widening I-95 between Bridgeport and Stamford), those expansions and improvements must be based on the “first do no harm” rule. A “lockbox” could wind up becoming nothing more than a slush fund to be used to facilitate contraindicated projects desired by “politically connected” entities. Bond to finance absolutely necessary transportation-infrastructure repairs and improvements, but don’t impose tolls or create a legislative transportation fund lockbox until we can agree on a comprehensive plan about where Connecticut needs to go and how it should get there. “First do no harm.”


One comment

  1. Simple, no to “lockbox” which is a farce. Make them do it right. To many opportunities to steal from this one.
    Yes to property question. It’s our property and we should have a say when it is to be given away or sold.


Leave a Reply