April 8, 2021

Senator Haskell, Lt. Gov. Bysiewicz, State Officials Highlight Infrastructure Improvements Through Transportation and Climate Initiative Program

WESTPORT — This afternoon, State Senator Will Haskell (D-Westport) joined Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz, Department of Transportation Deputy Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes, State Representative Jonathan Steinberg (D-Westport), Department of Transportation Senior Advisor Carlo Leone, Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe and Westport Selectman Melissa Kane at the Ruth Steinkraus Cohen Bridge to discuss the investments and improvements to be made in Fairfield County’s transportation infrastructure through the Transportation and Climate Initiative Program, currently under consideration by the state legislature. Meeting at the bridge gave a direct example of the program’s benefits, as one of its many changes would be overhauls of state traffic control systems to improve efficiency and reduce wasteful pollution.

“We know that the Transportation Climate Initiative will reduce carbon emissions in Connecticut, ensuring that the next generation can enjoy clean air and clean water,” said Sen. Haskell. “But it’s also important to discuss the tangible benefits it will have here in our community. Today, we highlighted the Traffic Signal Modernization program that is critical to relieving congestion on the Post Road in Westport. We can use technology to relieve bumper to bumper traffic, bringing our intersections in the 21st century.”

“The Transportation and Climate Initiative Program is not only an investment in our environment but also our transportation system. By reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reinvesting those funds into clean transportation options and infrastructure enhancements, we can ensure that Connecticut remains competitive with its surrounding states. This program, if implemented, will have a direct positive impact on local municipalities, like Westport. Through this initiative, we can modernize our traffic signals, create new green collar jobs, and increase economic activity in our local communities. Passing this legislation is key to getting our state moving again,” said Lt. Governor Bysiewicz.

The Transportation and Climate Initiative Program, often referred to as the “TCI,” is projected to raise up to $89 million in 2023 through efforts to reduce greenhouse emissions from motor vehicles, responsible for 38 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions in the state. Those proceeds, expected to increase as high as $117 million by 2032, will be reinvested in clean transportation options and infrastructure. Positive changes expected include supporting and expanding public transit, converting buses and diesel trucks to electric power, expansion of bicycle lanes, sidewalk improvements and pedestrian safety improvements and, relevant to Wednesday’s location, traffic signal modernization and synchronization.

Beginning in 2022, the program will upgrade traffic signal infrastructure, also improving the efficiency of signal operations and traffic flow in areas of the state often experiencing congestion. Modern detection systems and cellular technology will be placed to allow for increased signal responsiveness. That will allow for more responsiveness to account for traffic conditions changing over the course of the day, as well as during incidents. These upgrades will improve mobility statewide, reduce rear-end crashes and cause a significant decline in emissions, congestion and delay.

That’s just one benefit TCI would bring to Connecticut. Additionally, the program is expected to be a net economic benefit, raising more than $1 billion from 2023 to 2032 to invest in job creation and increased economic activity and improving infrastructure to allow companies expanded hiring pools and increased job opportunities. TCI is expected to generate increases in state gross domestic product, disposable personal income and employment.

The program will cap carbon emissions from on-road fuel use and require wholesale fuel purchasers to purchase “allowances” at auction to cover those emissions’ use. Proceeds will be reinvested into transportation projects and programs reducing emissions and air pollution, with at least 35 percent directly benefitting communities overburdened by air pollution and underserved by the transportation system. The program is expected to guarantee a 26 percent reduction in CO2 emissions from 2022 to 2032.