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Charter Oak Cultural Center / Facebook

Poetry by young Hartford-area writers is reaching a wider readership -- on a CTtransit Bus.

The “Poetry Bus” will inspire riders for the next few weeks with excerpts of poems written by students who participate in creative writing classes at the Charter Oak Cultural Center’s Youth Arts Institute. The poems form a graphic display on the outside of the bus.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut’s federal delegation is joining the effort to promote President Joe Biden’s next big legislative push.

President Biden’s $2.3 trillion infrastructure plan could bring expanded or improved Amtrak train service to every state in New England.

In this file photo, an Amtrak train arrives at Hartford Union Station on October 5, 2018.
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public

Ridership on Metro North and the Hartford Line has plummeted as many residents suddenly stopped commuting by public transit during the pandemic.

But as the federal government eyes infrastructure as a recovery priority, will Connecticut benefit?

This hour, we talk to Senator Richard Blumenthal about what this could mean for our region’s rail system.

And some proponents in our region see this as an opportunity to bring high speed rail to Connecticut. Is that a realistic possibility for our state?

In New London, Democratic mayor Michael Passero returns for a second four-year term, beating out both GOP and Green Party candidates.
Harriet Jones / Connecticut Public Radio

This hour, the expansion of State Pier in New London advanced with Friday's announcement of an agreement between the city and two companies taking part in the project.

But at the same time, the quasi-public state agency overseeing the project faces ongoing scrutiny.

The latest issue under investigation: the Connecticut Port Authority’s half-million-dollar payment to a company with ties to a former authority board member.

Connecticut Port Authority Investigated For Paying $500K 'Success Fee'

Feb 26, 2021
Courtesy: CT Port Authority

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong disclosed Thursday that his office is investigating the quasi-public Connecticut Port Authority and a more than $500,000 fee it paid to a consultant.

It Has Been Slow To Arrive, But High-Speed Rail Could Be Coming

Feb 2, 2021
The North Atlantic Rail project will include a tunnel under Long Island Sound through New Haven to Hartford, create a new line from Hartford to Providence, RI and connect multiple mid-sized cities.
North Atlantic Rail

In 2016, federal officials unveiled a plan for high-speed rail along the Northeast Corridor that included a 50-mile passage from Old Saybrook to the village of Kenyon, R.I.

The route went through Old Lyme and other historic small towns while bypassing New London. The plan, called NEC Future, met with heavy — almost unanimous — opposition. Hundreds turned out at meetings to oppose the plan. Sen. Richard Blumenthal seemed ready to lash himself to the tracks, calling the idea “half-baked and hare-brained” and “unworthy of any sort of taxpayer dollars.”

CT Signs On To Regional Plan To Cut Transportation Emissions

Dec 21, 2020
Much of the money from the TCI will go towards transportation initiatives, which in turn create jobs, tax revenue and some of the economic growth the state needs. It also adds a funding stream to the underfunded transportation fund.
Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut has signed on to a groundbreaking plan that will help dramatically lower greenhouse gas and other emissions from transportation and at the same time bring badly needed revenue to the state’s transportation system — and the underserved communities that are disproportionately affected by the impacts of climate change.

In a file photo, the Berlin train station at night.
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

COVID has changed the way we live, work, even move. This hour, we talk about the future of public transportation in Connecticut, with commuter advocate Jim Cameron. We also hear from the State Department of Transportation (DOT) public transit bureau chief.

Ridership has plummeted on rains and buses as many residents continue to work from home. This, even as Connecticut’s often-overlooked bus systems have been critical for many of the state’s essential workers to get to their jobs.

Will Connecticut’s mass transit system be able to recover from the economic toll of COVID?

Lamont’s Budget Dilemma: Protecting Transportation Makes The Deficit Worse

Nov 25, 2020
Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

After chastising legislators for rejecting his calls for tolls, Gov. Ned Lamont faces another budget quandary centered on Connecticut’s cash-starved transportation network.

With big deficits looming over the next two fiscal years, Lamont already is expected to propose some ugly spending cuts in February as he tries to avoid tax hikes while potentially gearing up to seek reelection in 2022.

Nicolas Boullosa / Creative Commons

One of the few silver linings of the pandemic has been a resurgence of interest in motels and RV life from a diverse group of millennials who want safe and less expensive options to travel and work during a pandemic.

And motels and RV companies are trying to meet the demand with upgrades and amenities like flat-screen TVs, memory-foam mattresses, and free Wi-Fi.

Some are turning to RV life permanently to travel, live, and work from where they want instead of being tethered to a desk and real estate. The pandemic has shown us that millennials who have never known the security of stable jobs or home ownership feel more "at home" outside traditional places.

CT Governor Ned Lamont
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

At a groundbreaking for a new development in Berlin Wednesday, Gov. Ned Lamont was greeted by protesters, making for some uncomfortable moments at the accompanying news conference.

Connecticut Weighs Options For Making Electric Vehicle Rebates More Equitable

Sep 14, 2020
Mariordo / Wikimedia Commons

The new board overseeing Connecticut’s electric vehicle rebate program is grappling with how best to restructure the program to incorporate used vehicles and attract more low- to moderate-income purchasers.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

Many Connecticut residents are used to spending a lot of time commuting, whether driving on a highway, riding on a train to the city or taking the bus across town. But the number of drivers and ridership across all modes of transportation have dropped dramatically with stay-at-home orders and the closing of non-essential businesses.

Bus Company First Student Gets $7M For Not Driving Kids

Jun 30, 2020
Sam Gurwitt / New Haven Independent

New Haven will pay its school bus contractor $1.5 million less than normal for time the buses were idle during the pandemic — but more than they should, according to some Board of Education members.

In New England, Declining Car Sales Prompt Call For Electric Bike Rebates

Jun 23, 2020
Richard Masoner / Flickr Creative Commons

As interest in cycling rises and electric vehicle sales drop off amid the pandemic, advocates are calling on Connecticut officials to extend the state’s rebate program to include electric bicycles.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

This is the first part in a series of shows from Where We Live about the future of work after the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many Connecticut residents are used to spending a lot of time commuting, whether driving on a highway, riding on a train to the city or taking the bus across town. But the number of drivers and ridership across all modes of transportation have dropped dramatically with stay-at-home orders and the closing of non-essential businesses.

This hour, with Connecticut beginning to reopen, what will the “new commute” look like?

foxwoods casinos reopening coronavirus
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public

Connecticut’s two casinos are taking paying customers for the first time in two months.

Tribal leadership shuttered the casinos March 18 for the first time in their history over fears of the spread of COVID-19.

Shanta Grant is a CTtransit bus driver in Stamford who’s scared to go to work during the pandemic -- especially when passengers don’t wear masks.

“We are essential workers, we are on the front line each and every day putting ourselves at risk,” Grant said, “putting our families at risk, and we deserve hazardous pay. We deserve to be accommodated for our work.”

Updated at 10:33 p.m.

The Massachusetts roadway fatality rate doubled in April, part of what officials described as a "disturbing trend" of more reckless driving on streets where congestion has evaporated during the coronavirus pandemic.

Brief Outbreak Of Tolls Debate Marks Bond Commission Meeting

Apr 16, 2020
tolls
Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

The unifying crisis of the coronavirus pandemic didn’t prevent the tolls debate from resurfacing Thursday at the state Capitol.

Transportation And Climate Initiative Moves Ahead Amid Pandemic Uncertainty

Apr 13, 2020
pumping gas
Amanda Lovelace / U.S. Air Force

The Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states working on a regional compact to reduce vehicle emissions are still hoping to produce a final memorandum of understanding before summer, despite the pandemic shutdown. 

Meanwhile, plunging gas prices and the economic fallout from the coronavirus have put the partnership’s political odds and projected impact in flux.

Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

As COVID-19 spreads further across the state, more people who suspect they have the virus are seeking testing. Tests remain in high demand as the state struggles to get residents results in less than a week.

CT transit bus
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public/NENC

As the Department of Transportation continues to make adjustments to CTtransit service and policies, some bus operators feel as though they’re still at risk of carrying or contracting the coronavirus.

Interstate Railfan / Wikimedia Commons

Connecticut paid thousands of dollars to upgrade the old train cars it leased from Massachusetts to revive the Hartford Rail Line. Now Massachusetts wants them back.

The rail service between New Haven and Springfield almost did not launch on time in 2018. Connecticut lacked the cash to buy new rail cars, so the state leased 30-year-old cars from Massachusetts instead.

Alden Bourne / New England Public Radio

There's been a lot of debate about a new study from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation on expanded rail service between the eastern and western parts of the state.

The study says the cheapest option would have about 36 daily riders, and the most expensive just over 800. Those figures have been widely criticized by proponents.

Democrats Promise Passage Of Truck Tolls In Two Weeks

Feb 2, 2020
Elizabeth Hamilton / CT Mirror

Senate and House Democratic leaders said Friday afternoon the General Assembly will vote on a tractor-trailer  tolls bill the week of Feb. 10, though they have not resolved a small detail that loomed large Thursday night when they cancelled a special session slated for next week: Which chamber will vote first?

“That remains to be determined,” said Senate President Pro Tem Martin M. Looney of New Haven.

Cars pass under toll sensor gantries hanging over the Massachusetts Turnpike in Newton, Mass.
Elise Amendola / Associated Press

Gov. Ned Lamont and the General Assembly took two significant steps late Monday toward ordering electronic tolls on large trucks that travel Connecticut’s highways.

Lamont announced a compromise deal on a new state bond package — a prerequisite for any tolls vote — that curtails borrowing for non-transportation projects, but not as sharply as the governor envisioned in the “debt diet” he unveiled last February.

The nonprofit that operated the historic plane involved in a deadly crash at Bradley Airport last October said it's agreed to keep other aircraft on the ground for now. 

No Hearing On Truck Tolls Or CT2030 Before Next Week

Jan 21, 2020
Chion Wolf / WNPR

House and Senate Democratic leaders said they hope to finalize a tractor trailer tolls bill at a meeting Tuesday afternoon with the administration of Gov. Ned Lamont, then schedule a public hearing for next week on Lamont’s 10-year, $19 billion infrastructure plan.

The leaders originally said they planned to make the legislation public Tuesday, but they expect some revisions after the meeting, meaning the bill’s public release is unlikely before Wednesday.

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