In political terms replacing–or lack of–the Congress Street Bridge is an election ritual.
In the 14 years since Jim Himes’ election to Congress every Republican opponent has taken him to task as a measure of inaction. Jayme Stevenson, who also occupies the Independent Party line on Nov. 8, is the latest. See video above.
Elected in the Barack Obama election tsunami of 2008, Himes had done the same to his Republican predecessor Chris Shays citing his failure to deliver bucks for a replacement drawbridge over the Pequonnock River to reconnect the East Side with Downtown forcing headquarters for the city’s Fire Department to navigate a longer route for responses after the bridge got stuck open in 1997.
It’s now been 25 years.
Himes negotiated the money to remove the stuck-open bridge, but the logistics of a replacement span has stalled despite Himes and the city announcing years ago the $20 million or so required is in place.
Issues with adjoining property owners and required state permitting are the latest issues cited by city development officials that had projected replacement work commencing this year.
It’s also an undertaking Mayor Joe Ganim wants started as he goes before voters next year seeking another four-year term. If work doesn’t commence, opponents will certainly pounce.
As a democrat, I still believe Chris Shays (who was a Bridgeport resident) did more for the Bridgeport community than Himes ever did. He also ran on the message that Chris Shays had been in office too long and we needed someone fresh. How many terms will Himes serve before he feels the same about himself?
I will be voting for Stevenson in November.
Jeff, I agree with you regarding Chris Shays. The best election loss I had was the 2008 tsunami along with Chris Shays.
The bridge project has been delayed by the Dinardo group.
Dinardo wants a bridge that will allow ships/vessels to pass up stream toward the river front properties he owns. It looks like his property is between the Congress Street bridge and the River Street Bridgeport. I think the East Washington Avenue bridge doesn’t present a problem to him.
Like others, Maybe Stevenson will be surprised to fine out who purchased the properties around that Bridge after Ganim close it?
Regarding Jim Himes: I’d give him a C- as our federal House representation from Bridgeport. He’s accessible, and has some feeling for the community, but he ignores most of our serious problems (e.g., lack of lucrative, jobs-rich tax-base development…) and takes his marching orders from the good ol’ boys FFLD CTY network in steering most of the federal gov’t “good-$tuff” down county, away from BPT…
The Congress Street Bridge is a story of misrepresentation in its own right. Under years of pressure to get funding to replace the bridge, the very short-sighted, “cheap” route to a new bridge was chosen by JH, et al., in having the Pequonnock River declared “un-navigable” for commercial traffic, allowing a much cheaper bridge to be placed over the historic shipping-channel stretch of the Pequonnock above the bridge. A VERY, VERY SHORT-SGHTED AND STUPID THING FOR ANY LEADER WITH BRIDGEPORT’S F-U-T-U-R-E IN MIND TO DO… Of course, our state and local “leaders” were also cheerleaders for this cheap, short-sighted, stupid option…
The main reason why Jim Himes replaced Chris Shays — besides the effect of the anti-Bush tsunami of 2008 — was Shays’ unquestioning support of the war In Iraq… Shays independence on other issues connected to the R’s could have saved him if he had had better instincts on the sentiment for the Bush-II Iraq War in Bridgeport and most of the rest of the 4th… (The drastic escalation of the war in Ukraine — by the rhetoric, posture (anti-peace-talk/anti-negotiation), and provision of massive amounts of high-tech, ultra-destructive, offensive weapons to Ukraine in a US-led Putin-regime-change effort by NATO — will not help the D’s in this election, much less in 2024, with the effects of the Ukraine War escalation being a major contributing factor to the present US/global economic woes (especially inflation), we could see mainstream, Biden D’s losing traction in this election…)
This D will vote for Himes this time, only because a vote for an R could be registered as support for the Republican Idiocy/lunacy prevalent in that presently-cultish (dangerous) political organization…
Jeff, you touched on some points. I think there is a broader question thought. While it would be nice to have a new modern assissable bridge for possible commercial vessels. However, is it even necessary to need a bridge at all? I mean the access point is very limited to the right on the lower East Side and there is a access bridge to the left down Housatonic Ave. A 1/4 milege, a two second drive down the road. JS
That being said, Shay may have been much better at bring Pork barrel money to the Port. But it was his home town. Himes not so much. JS
I fail top see why this is a FEDERAL government issue. It is not on an interstate or federal highway. It’s nice that Congressmen Himes secured funds for this but local government has failed miserably in completing the deal and getting things moving.
Lay the blame where it belongs, in the mayor’s office,