State officials announced on Tuesday a five-year plan to improve Connecticut’s transportation systems, which included upgrades to state bridges, highways and rail system.

“We have invested millions in our roads, bridges and railways over the last three years and have an ambitious five-year plan in place to continue upgrading and strengthening our transportation infrastructure well into the future,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in a statement. “These projects will facilitate commerce, stimulate economic development, improve the daily commutes of countless residents and create thousands of immediate construction jobs.”

Earlier this year, Malloy proposed a state transportation budget for 2015 that represents a 165 percent increase in funding compared with 2010 levels and includes about $1.4 billion to fund the largest transportation capital program in Connecticut’s history. The governor’s 2015 transportation budget also restores the dedication of the State Transportation Fund solely for transportation purposes. The budget, which is being considered by the General Assembly, also calls for the hiring of 75 ConnDOT engineers to move projects through the design and bid process more quickly.

ConnDOT anticipates the availability of approximately $1.8 billion in the total capital program funding in fiscal year 2014 for all transportation modes. This amount includes approximately $345 million for bus and rail assets and $1.4 billion available for highway and bridge infrastructure. In its 2013 capital program, ConnDOT committed approximately $1.6 billion for all transportation modes – road and bridge, railroad and bus and other public transit. The 2.7-mile I-84 widening project will add a third lane in each direction through Waterbury and is one of dozens of projects in ConnDOT’s five-year capital plan. Other major projects include:

• Replacement of the I-84 Hartford viaduct.

• Q Bridge replacement (I-95 New Haven).

• Moses Wheeler Bridge replacement (I-95 Stratford).

• Putnam Bridge rehabilitation (Route 3 Glastonbury).

• Rehabilitation of Merritt Parkway in Stamford.

• Operational improvements on I-95 in Norwalk.

DOT Commissioner James P. Redeker said that in addition to highway and bridge improvements, the capital plan calls for millions more in investments in the New Haven commuter rail line and the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield rail corridor, which will offer enhanced intercity passenger service beginning in 2016. The state invested $10 million to upgrade the power supply for the New Haven Line, which was successfully completed in February, giving full back-up power redundancy for the east- and westbound lines.

Last week, Malloy announced that Connecticut has applied for $600 million in federal transportation funding to help cover the capital costs of three resiliency, or “hardening,” projects central to the Metro-North’s commuter rail infrastructure.

Commercial Record – 4/24/2014

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