On Friday, the Connecticut Post reported that Governor Rell's office did not allow Connecticut Department of Transportation officials to travel to a recently held regional conference on transportation planning from sister DOT's throughout the Northeast, based on the travel ban ordered by Rell in November.
The conference focused on regional cooperation on land use and transportation planning. Officials from New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, New York, Massachusetts, and Delaware attended. Despite Connecticut's economic stagnation and its direct link to traffic congestion, no one from Connecticut was in attendance.
The New York-based Tri-State Transportation Coalition, a public transit advocacy group wrote of Connecticut's absence:
"The ConnDOT lived up to its reputation as the least reconstructed,least responsive state transportation agency around with its failure to attend the New Jersey/Pennsylvania DOT conference,"Rell's office was contacted to see whether the ban should have included the NASTO conference. This ban was also the reason Rell did not attend the National Governors' Association Conference, where Governors from throughout the country banded together on issues like Medicaid and Education Reform.
Kate Slevin, Tri-State's associate director, said her group was disappointed at Connecticut's absence. "Every state is facing fiscal problems and infrastructure problems," she said. But Selvin stressed that it is critical for New York, New Jersey and Connecticut DOTs meet in order to solve congestion problems plaguing the region. She asked how a solution would be found if Connecticut doesn't show up.
We could not agree more. Regional planning is critical to solving our transportation problems, most critically for Connecticut, whose economy lags far behind New York's and New Jersey's. We should be initiating these opportunities, not boycotting them.