The state Bond Commission approved more than $89 million in bonds to start construction of the New Britain to Hartford bus rapid transit way Friday.
But the vote on the controversial busway, which will extend down 9.6 miles of abandoned railroad tracks, was not unanimous. Rep. Sean Williams, R-Watertown, and Sens. Eileen Daily, D-Westbrook, and Andrew Roraback, R-Goshen, voted against the measure.
Rorback said he calculated how much the project will ultimately cost the state and figured out the state could purchase a Jeep Patriot for everyone in New Milford with the $567 million they planned to spend on this project. He said the magnitude of the project is not worth what the state is spending on it.
The project will ultimately cost $567 million and the federal government has promised to supply about $460 million of that funding.
Roraback talked about the outpouring of opposition to the project from residents across the state for a project, which he estimated will cost $952 per inch. He said there are 247 unfunded projects on the Department of Transportation’s list that the state should look at funding with this money instead.
Daily said she opposed the project because she feels the money should be invested in rail, not bus rapid transit.
“It’s a terrible waste of state money,” Daily said.
But Malloy said he heard both sides and feels differently.
“It’s worth the money,” Malloy said.
He said there was also $1 million on the agenda today which will be used to study commuter rail other and transportation alternatives between Hartford and Waterbury.
“I don’t think one should necessarily overshadow the other. On a long term basis they may have equal consequence,” Malloy said.
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