Wednesday, September 24, 2014
UPDATE Dan Debicella, the Republican businessman seeking for the second time to oust incumbent U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, today released his transportation plan, which he said calls for expanding entrance and exit lanes on I-95 and the Merritt Parkway.
“My plan for transportation focuses on common-sense solutions for both roads and rails – with realistic funding levels that we can obtain,” said Debicella at a news conference at the Metro-North station in Westport. He was joined by state Senate Minority Leader John McKinney and state Sen. Toni Boucher.
Debicella’s plan also calls for enhanced maintenance and repair schedules for Metro-North tracks and electrical work.
Debicella, who was unsuccessful in his 2010 run against Himes, losing by about six percentage points, said the opening of Merritt exit 53 in the Sikorsky Bridge area was a major factor in relieving traffic congestion at that pervious bottleneck.
He specifically mentioned the area between Merritt exits 42 in Westport and 44 in Fairfield, among others, as ripe for improvement.
Original planners of the parkway in the 1930s had planned an exit 43 in Westport, but it was eliminated because of local opposition.
Debicella criticized Himes’s record on transportation, singling out his support for a second train station in Bridgeport.
He said “political pandering” was not the right way to solve the state’s transportation issues.
McKinney added, “state and federal leaders have failed us in addressing our needs to fix transportation.”
He said that creation of bus lanes between Hartford and New Britain costs hundreds of millions and those funds should have been directed to addressing the Fairfield County transportation problems.
Himes later responded to Debicella’s remarks, saying he has helped secure nearly $1 billion for transportation projects in southwestern Connecticut during his three terms in the House of Representatives.
“This is election year theatrics,” Himes said. “We’ve grown used to getting this from Dan Debicella. While he’s been working in a hedge fund, I’ve contributed to bringing in almost a billion dollars of investment in our infrastructure. ... He’s just blowing a lot of hot air.”
—Dave Matlow contributed reporting.
Posted 09/24/14 at 12:45 PM Permalink
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Huh? This guy is calling for an Exit “43” on the Merritt? Right in the middle of Greenfield Hill? That should make those people happy and guess who they usually vote for! And he is running for Federal office on a local and state issue? That just compounds his problems.
This is just short of ridiculous. Debicella has a press conference at a train station to call for more spending money on roads! And his solution to Metro-North’s problems is “enhanced maintenance”!
Has he read the Regional Plan study that shows we need at least $3.6 billion in infrastructure investment? Has he read the Federal Railroad Administration’s report that says Metro-North has a “deficient safety culture”?
Clearly this guy has no clue.
He and his entourage rolled up to the train station for this presser in a fleet of black cars and SUVs.
Uh, have you had a real problem getting on or off the highways at exits 41 and 42 and 17 and 18? Widening them doesn’t seem a priority to me. This man doesn’t seem to have any real ideas for change.