Local leaders show how money from the federal infrastructure bill is being spent in CT

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) – Politicians from New Haven and Hamden took a ride on a CT Transit bus Monday morning to demonstrate how some of the money from the federal infrastructure bill is being spent.

The bill recently passed in Washington contains billions of dollars for transportation infrastructure, but what does that mean for Connecticut? For one thing, it means more fully electric, zero-emission buses on city streets.

“This is a big deal. This is a really big deal,” said State Sen. Jorge Cabrera (D -Hamden) at the press conference.

Local leaders are praising the funding coming from the federal infrastructure bill. As Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D- 3rd District) played a big role in crafting it.

“Project will purchase 12 battery-electric buses with associated electrical modifications and charging infrastructure for both Connecticut Transit New Haven and Stamford service areas,” DeLauro explained.

CT Transit needs help because bus ridership fell by 90% at the height of the pandemic. That meant almost no money was coming in.

“Hopefully, with this bill, we will get people to real wages and hold businesses accountable to keep the dollars where they need to be,” said Ralph Buccitti of the Amalgamated Transit Union.

Those dollars need to be in public transportation because so many people depend on buses.

“People need the services to get to work, to get to school, to see their doctor, to see their loved ones, because bus service, transit, is a lifeline in this state,” DeLauro said.

But diesel exhaust is associated with high levels of asthma in urban centers. In addition to electric buses, the bill also helps people get around on foot and on bikes.

“The investment in pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure that’s a component of the bill is a huge improvement, not only for pedestrian and bicycle safety but climate change,” said Mayor Justin Elicker (D – New Haven).

Another thing zero-emission buses do is help with global warming and rising sea levels. For a coastal city like New Haven, even a small rise in sea levels would put a lot of neighborhoods underwater.

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