112th District: Fixing Connecticut’s transportation system

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The following is the fourth part of a series leading up to the special election for the Connecticut General Assembly’s open 112th District seat, representing Monroe and portions of Newtown. Each article will feature one question for the candidates.

MONROE, CT — It is not uncommon for commuters to endure the frustration of sitting through traffic jams along the Merritt Parkway and Interstates 95 and 84, and those traveling by train often complain over rising fares or the level of service.

Whoever is elected as Monroe and Newtown’s new representative in the special election for the Connecticut General Assembly’s open 112th District seat on Tuesday, April 13, will face the problem of solving the state’s transportation issues.

The Sun asked Republican, Tony Scott of Monroe, Democrat, Nick Kapoor of Monroe, and Independent Party candidate William “Bill” Furrier of Sandy Hook for their opinions on the issue.

The Sun will pose a series of questions leading up to Election Day, changing up the order of the candidates’ answers. Today, Tony Scott will answer first.

What should the state do to improve its transportation system, while reducing congestion on Connecticut’s highways?

Tony Scott: Transportation funding needs to be protected and put into a true “lockbox” so that it is not raided by overzealous legislators and spent on something that it was not intended for.

To help with congestion on the highways, I would like to see some creative thinking and possibly incentivizing companies who allow their workers to work from home, thus not commuting. We have seen that during the pandemic, companies are coping fine with employees able to get the work done from home.

Nick Kapoor: We must fund the Special Transportation Fund and make infrastructure improvements a budget priority. If we want adequate and sustainable infrastructure, we must make a long-term plan and commitment to invest in it and then adequately fund it.

The practice of going budget-by-budget, year-after-year just plugging holes has got to stop.

As a member of the Town Council, I proposed a “Monroe 2025 Commission” which would have been tasked with creating a long-term plan for the development of the town. Unfortunately, this idea was not supported by the majority party in Monroe.

However, as your state representative, I will champion enshrining a long-term vision for our state into everything the legislature does. That long-term vision would necessarily include safe bridges and roads.

In addition, when we talk about infrastructure, we must broaden our vision to include making improvements to our electric and internet grids, and promote the mainstreaming of renewable energy sources.

There is more to our infrastructure than just roads and bridges and we must take a holistic, comprehensive approach to bring Connecticut and our state government into the 21st century.

Bill Furrier: Encourage remote working by helping to improve internet speed and bandwidth and providing tax incentives for large corporate centers in high traffic areas to reduce their daily head counts.

Establish specific locked funds for infrastructure, which can only be utilized for specific purposes. No raiding of funds.

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