Betts: Busway is a Pet Project We Can’t Afford

HARTFORD—Last night the Department of Transportation held an informational hearing to explain details of the much maligned 9.4 mile New Britain to Hartford busway that is supposed to begin construction this Fall. Whit Betts, joined by many members of the public in opposition to the busway, attended the meeting and asked to put the brakes on.

Betts and State Senator Joe Markley have teamed up to, at a minimum, put the project on hold due to Connecticut’s dire fiscal situation and the sky-high cost of making the busway a reality. The total cost of the busway is close to $600 million which works out to be $1,000 for every inch. Public opposition to the busway has been fierce as people are already feeling the effects of the largest tax increase in state history while state spending has continued to increase.

“The opposition to this project is staggering,” said Betts. “They didn’t make the case for the busway and they haven’t shown the benefits and yet they are forcing the project forward despite all of that. I just don’t get it as a long-term benefit, it’s a pet project and an expensive one at that.”

Betts questioned whether the taxpayers of this state—and our nation—can afford any of it. He said as much Thursday evening during the well-attended informational forum at Central Connecticut State University, organized by the state’s Department of Transportation.

The state, Betts said, is counting on federal grant money for the project to continue and is confident the money will come through; however, the federal government is is deep deficit and looking to make significant cuts making.

“It’s like me going to a builder and asking him to build me a house when I don’t have the money to pay him,” said Betts. “It’s a move that only government can make- that doesn’t work in the real world.”

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