Rebuttal: Connecticut DOT does not have a car culture

Op Ed in CT Mirror by MTAC President Joe Sculley.

In his May 30 submission, Robert Hale of New Haven submits that Connecticut DOT “remains wedded to investment decisions that prioritize private vehicle use instead of transit.” The fact that 64 percent of the ConnDOT operating budget is eaten up by transit subsidies (even though only about 5 percent of Connecticut commuters take transit to work) says otherwise.

The money for these transit subsidies comes mostly from fuel taxes and vehicle registration fees – things paid by owners and operators of motor vehicles. These vehicle operators are led to believe that these taxes and fees are paid for the privilege of using the roads and bridges they drive on, and in return, the money will be reinvested into said roads and bridges. Instead, the money is spent on transit (or other non-road purposes).

That hardly seems like a car-centric approach to transportation. This is also one of the main reasons for the push for tolls, but I digress.

Hale writes regarding the Hartford line railroad that “the schedule still contains several two-hour gaps and a four-hour gap in northbound service during the midday.” Has he considered that the reason for that could be a lack of ridership? Why should trains or buses be run if there are little to no riders? After all, at an April 4, 2019 Office of Policy and Management Finance Advisory Committee meeting, ConnDOT representatives stated that statewide transit ridership has declined by about 6 percent. This is consistent with a national trend, and helps explain all the empty transit buses I see driving around the Greater Hartford area.

See the complete Op Ed by Joe Sculley in the CT Mirror online.