We were hoping to bring you a debate over the controversial Hartford New Britain busway last week on Face the State, but Hurricane Irene forced a change in our program plans. We recorded an interview between State Representatives Tony Guerrera and Rob Samson that never aired on Channel 3. Guerrera, a Democrat from Rocky Hill supports the half a billion dollar busway, but he didn’t seem too enthusiastic about it. Samson, a Republican from Wolcott, is against it.
Critics say the busway is a waste of money, and the only reason it is being built is because the federal government is offering the money, and if the state balks, it loses the money. Supporters say it will create jobs, and will encourage more people to leave their cars at home.
As a journalist, I have questions about the busway, too. Does it make more sense to have a busway from towns that are experiencing a population boom, like Canton or Ellington, rather than New Britain? What is the state doing to make sure people will use the busway? Should they move state offices in outlying areas to Hartford or along the busway route to guarantee some ridership? What about the DMV? I always wondered what that agency was doing on prime suburban waterfront land.
There’s also the UConn Health Center. Well respected lawmakers, columnists and others have called for the state to fix the mistake of having the medical school in Farmington, and rebuild it in Hartford, close to three major hospitals. Certainly that would beef up ridership.
Will the state give companies located in areas without public transportation incentives to move to the busway route? In the last five years four major employers left downtown Hartford for suburban locations where employees must drive to work. Is the state doing anything to reverse that trend?
You can watch the interview on the busway right here: http://www.wfsb.com/video?clipId=6211860&topVideoCatNo=213439&autoStart=true