BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy, who believes the state needs to invest more in transportation and infrastructure, said he proved his own point Thursday traveling between appearances in Norwalk and Bridgeport.
“We left on time from Norwalk and got here 20 minutes late — because of traffic,” he told a group gathered to hear his “Fed Up:Traffic on the I-95 Corridor” report for Bridgeport.
The second of its kind following a study of Norwalk traffic woes, “Fed Up” is Murphy’s effort to crowdsource stories and possible solutions to the state’s transportation challenges. He believes investing in better traffic solutions will have a ripple effect on economic development and quality of life.
In traveling up and down the corridor and on rail lines, Murphy said he has heard story after story of people having to change their ways to accommodate the I-95 delays many see as an unchangeable fact of life.
One man told him he has to drop off his children with a babysitter at 6:15 a.m. to get to work on time. Another, a barber who commutes from Waterbury to Bridgeport, said he was losing customers because he had to leave early to catch the only train back to Waterbury in the afternoons.
“It’s really been both amazing and heartbreaking,” Murphy said.
The Bridgeport report is an exit-by-exit analysis of the current situation from Exit 25 on the Fairfield border to Exit 30 near Stratford.
It includes 10 recommendations — from completing a third train station in Bridgeport’s East End to widening I-95 in Bridgeport’s 4-mile stretch to relocating and expanding the Port Jefferson Ferry Terminal. Murphy also supports converting one-way streets, such as State Street, to two-way streets to help local businesses and adding bike lanes on underused Railroad Avenue.
Mayor Joe Ganim commented on the new train station, which received federal funding in 2015 for planning.
“It’s not only going forward, but it’s going forward at a pace that’s really amazing,” he said.
Many of those gathered said residents need to see things can improve and lawmakers have to be convinced that transportation improvements will improve other state issues.
“The willingness to spend a dime and to fund it is nonexistent,” said Paul Timpanelli, president of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council.
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