Civil Engineers Unite In Last-Minute Push For Transportation Lockbox

Oct 30, 2018
Originally published on October 30, 2018 3:54 pm

A group of civil engineers gathered in Hartford Tuesday to urge voters approve a ballot question that would establish a lockbox for transportation money. It’s a last-minute push that comes as a new report says the state’s roads and bridges are in need of major investment.

If you think of our roads as computers, David Chapman said their operating system is ancient.

“Lot of times when you buy software, nobody wants to buy version 1.0. Unfortunately, a lot of our highway systems were 1.0,” Chapman said.

Chapman is President of the Connecticut Society of Civil Engineers. He said Connecticut was building roads like the Killingly Expressway before there was an interstate system. Then there’s the I-84/91 exchange in Hartford, “which is classically studied in engineering schools as the way not to build an interchange, across the country,” he said.

In other words, our roads and bridges need a lot of work. That’s the takeaway from a new report put out by Chapman’s group and the American Society of Civil Engineers, which grades Connecticut’s roads a D+.

It says the state’s 20,000 miles of public roads are safe, but functionally obsolete. Congestion in cities is costing drivers money and time, about 42 hours per year spent sitting in traffic.

Roy Merritt, an engineer with the CSCE, said a ‘yes’ vote on ballot question one, to create a lockbox for transportation money, could start to fix that.

“We’re hopeful this amendment will foster trust with our citizens such that they can be assured that the hard earned dollars that they spend on various transportation taxes in this state -- are always spent on their intended purpose: transportation,” Merritt said.

Voters will decide on ballot question one next Tuesday.

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