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Malloy's Bid To Widen I-95, Improve Metro-North Draws Praise

Construction workers shut down two lanes of traffic on Route 7 in Norwalk on Wednesday, while fixing potholes on the three-lane highway.
Construction workers shut down two lanes of traffic on Route 7 in Norwalk on Wednesday, while fixing potholes on the three-lane highway. Photo Credit: Salvatore Trifilio

GREENWICH, Conn. -- Political leaders praised Gov. Dannel Malloy's proposal for historic improvements in the state's transportation system: widening I-95 from Bridgeport to Greenwich, completing the Merritt Parkway-Route 7 interchange in Norwalk, and overhauling Metro-North to allow for “subway-like frequency.”

Malloy announced the Let’s Go Connecticut project Wednesday as part of his biennial budget proposal to relieve congestion on Connecticut highways.

U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-4th District), a Greenwich resident, said he didn't know the specifics of the plan but welcomed Malloy's emphasis on transportation.

"More than anything else I am just thrilled that he is making this the centerpiece of his second term because it is the key to both quality of life and economics here in Fairfield County," Himes said of the bold plan to improve highways and trains.

Himes said focusing on Metro-North Railroad is a priority for Fairfield County.

"Mass transit is kind of my No. 1 issue because, at the end of the day, in a densely populated area you want people taking mass transit rather than piling on the Merritt Parkway or I-95," he said. "The more we can encourage people onto mass transit like Metro-North, the better our traffic situation is and, frankly, the better our air quality is."

He pointed out that Metro-North has experienced significant problems recently that doesn't encourage confidence in the system.

Stamford Mayor David Martin also praised Malloy's proposal.

"I am extremely pleased that the governor has made transportation a central focus of his agenda. He understands that the long term vitality of Stamford - and our entire state - is dependent on investment in our transportation infrastructure," Martin said.

He said the governor was taking the lead in addressing transportation issues such as adding service on the Metro-North Railroad rails and easing congestion on the state's roads and highways.

“I think [Malloy’s] plans are very, very important,” said Winifred Chesley, a resident of Wilton who has lived in Fairfield County for 60 years. “As this area grows more and more, it’s going to be worse and worse traveling. And traveling is no fun now in this area, especially during rush hour.”

Malloy did not detail how the improvements would be funded, but Chesley believes tolls may be necessary.

“As long as it goes to improves the transportation, than yes. But if it goes in someone’s pocket, than no,” Chesley said. “I’m all for it, and I am for the tolls.”

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