AND TRANSIT PLANS
any transportation project in the Region to obtain a commitment
of federal transportation funds, it must first appear within
the HVCEO maintained statements of municipal needs below:
BETHEL TRAFFIC AND TRANSIT PLAN
BRIDGEWATER TRAFFIC AND TRANSIT PLAN
4C. BROOKFIELD TRAFFIC AND TRANSIT PLAN
DANBURY TRAFFIC AND TRANSIT PLAN
4E. NEW FAIRFIELD TRAFFIC AND TRANSIT PLAN
4F. NEW MILFORD TRAFFIC AND TRANSIT PLAN
NEWTOWN TRAFFIC AND TRANSIT PLAN
REDDING TRAFFIC AND TRANSIT PLAN
4I. RIDGEFIELD TRAFFIC AND TRANSIT PLAN
SHERMAN TRAFFIC AND TRANSIT PLAN
PROJECTS INITIATED BY CONN DOT
In general there are two options for transportation
project development. First, Conn DOT is often the initiator
of improvement projects in the municipality, even without
a request by local government.
On state roadways safety problems must be addressed, turning
lanes added, new signals installed, and maintenance activities
scheduled. These are often at considerable expense and make
use of federal funds received at Conn DOT. So without any
advocacy at all, the municipality receives some basic improvements.
it comes to these state initiated improvements, mostly to
the state roadway network for which it is responsible, Conn
DOT is conscientious about seeking local opinions and input.
In addition, as needs statewide are great and financial resources
limited, there is little interest in forcing investments upon
an unwilling community.
there may be a difference of opinion, such as the need to
widen from two to four lanes in an area noted for its village
character (such as Ridgefield’s Branchville section
on Route 7), or on the raising of the height of an overpass
that will allow larger trucks to pass (as on Route 53 in Bethel).
situations the municipality has recourse to a veto power exercised
by HVCEO under federal law over the regional list of the area's
federally funded projects known as the Transportation
Improvement Program for the area.
the mayors and first selectmen on HVCEO are not anxious to
stop federal funds that Conn DOT wishes to see flow into the
area. Rather, that their consent is ultimately needed tends
to keep state and local officials cooperating and shaping
projects in their early stages such that they can succeed.
A subset of projects are those required by the state but funded
at private developer expense. These types of upgrades are
mandated by the State Traffic Commission when a traffic generator
has an impact on a state roadway, and therefore must help
address that impact, usually thru a combination of roadway
widenings, installation of turning lanes, and new traffic
INITIATED BY MUNICIPALITY
While much of the available federal
financial resources are funneled into Conn DOT initiated projects,
perhaps just as much is applied to projects for which the
initiator is not Conn DOT but the municipality. This is the
second option, a complex process without a single application
form or definitive municipal dollar allocation as guidance.
outset of determining which congestion relief projects to
pursue, it is important to know that not all must be located
on state roadways. Some local roads, if they are higher classifications
of important collectors and arterials (see map),
also qualify for federal funds.
non-transit projects that do the most to relieve state roadway
congestion or that facilitate investment in major economic
development receive the most attention from the state. For
large economic development projects, state economic development
agencies and the Governor’s Office sometimes intervene
with Conn DOT.
initial approach is to expend time up front developing sound
project proposals. HVCEO receives federal transportation planning
research to assist municipalities with this step.
component of municipally initiated project development is
to seek the input of Conn DOT transportation professionals
early on, as improvement concepts are formulated.
this process Conn DOT maintains, within its Bureau of Engineering
and Highway Operations, a well organized Project
Development Unit (PDU) to receive and evaluate
new ideas. The PDU required that municipalities submit their
proposals thru HVCEO, which in this and in other ways acts
as a localized field agent for Conn DOT.
review, if the municipality and Conn DOT agree that a project
is worthy, the next question is finding sufficient funds to
design and construct the project. This is, or course, the
There are multiple
federal funding categories utilized in Connecticut,
each with slightly different rules as to use, and much competition.
category, Surface Transportation Program - Other (STP-O),
is distributed by subarea allocation within Connecticut. HVCEO
and the other regions are empowered by the federal government
to set priorities for this funding source.
An example of an STP-O project for Danbury is the central
area coordinated signal system. In Bethel, the new bridge
over Limekiln Brook on Old Hawleyville Road. HVCEO also sets
regional priorities for STP-E funds, the federal enhancement
and streetscape program.
has taken some intermunicipal competitiveness out of its STP-O
decisions by use of a “fair share” allocation
tied to municipal population. But flexibility of allocation
is possible, as when Danbury agreed that Brookfield could
exceed its STP-O fair share for widening of Federal Road in
Brookfield up to the Danbury City Line, as that congestion
relief logically assisted both municipalities.
funding categories with much larger dollar sums, such as STP-A,
have no mandatory subarea allocation and are thus largely
controlled by CT DOT. Here old fashioned advocacy by the municipality,
its legislators and HVCEO, is needed. The key is to have a
point person in the local government coordinate the efforts.
projects begin with the more limited STP-O program, and then
stall because that limited category cannot accommodate the
large cost revealed after preliminary design is completed.
Then the municipality can hope to have its STP-O project converted
by Conn DOT to the larger STP-A category.
Coordinated statements and appearances by the legislative
delegation are always valuable. These activities can be aimed
at the Conn DOT Commissioner or the Governor’s Office.
again must be stressed that it is best to have first shaped
the desired project such that it has the support of Conn DOT
professional staff, as their opinions are given great weight
at legislative hearings. The discussion there can be centered
around bills that give direction to Conn DOT on a particular
some initial progress is made there are still hurdles. While
smaller scale maintenance projects usually proceed to construction
by their own momentum, such movement is never common with
the larger cost roadway capacity projects.
may at first proceed relatively smoothly through their design
phase. But then advancing to the more costly construction
phase is stalled, and another advocacy phase is needed.
of progress is not always apparent to local leaders, for the
official Conn DOT statement of an optimistic completion date
has been authoritatively issued. But the completion date is
then continually revised and revised again.
may be silent, such as two state agencies not in agreement
about some aspect of project impact and without anyone above
them intervening to negotiate. The answer is again for officials
representing the community, both local and state, to show
interest when there is a delay.
past it was possible to lobby the Connecticut General Assembly
for 100% state funding for a local road improvement project.
But in recent years state funds have decreased for such purposes.
state funds for traffic relief and transit improvement are
reserved to serve as the required matching shares for federal
transportation funds. Still, the State Bond Commission continues
to make state funds available for some key traffic improvements,
such as I-84 Exit 1 and Exit 2 capacity expansions.
a municipality pursues a project with Conn DOT where the effort
reaches a relatively quick consensus. This can occur when
the need is small enough such that DOT District 4 maintenance
forces can complete the needed changes with existing manpower,
without escalating the improvement to the status of a “federal
project” at all.
the key to municipal transportation project development is
to acknowledge it as a multi-year process, to which someone
in the local government can be assigned to pursue for the
long haul. For the monitoring of Route 7 improvements in New
Milford, Brookfield and Ridgefield, state representatives
have taken on this project “champion” role.
success requires strong initial planning, regularly project
monitoring, lobbying and effective use of Conn DOT and HVCEO.
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