The 2013 legislative session here in Connecticut is in full swing and we’ve been busy at CFE/Save the Sound identifying important pieces of legislation that we support, oppose, and we keeping a watchful eye on. With a lot of bills already up for public hearings, we anticipate that it is going to be a very exciting session for all of our programs – Transit for Connecticut, Growing Connecticut Around Transit, Long Island Sound, Endangered Lands, Energy, and Defense.
We want to keep you informed about what bills we are working on so over the next week, we will be writing several blog posts identifying key pieces of legislation that we are watching as well as any important dates coming up for those items. We hope you find this helpful as we navigate through this long session.
Here is a cheat sheet to the common abbreviations used during the legislative session:
H.B.: House Bill
S.B.: Senate Bill
AAC: An Act Concerning
TRANSIT & TOD
The Transportation Committee already held several public hearings on important pieces of legislation.
One of our top priorities is moving transit-oriented development forward in the state. Our workgroup, Growing Connecticut Around Transit, has been meeting with state agency staff and elected officials to begin the discussion of how to prioritize and begin implementing walkable, livable, sustainable communities around our major transit lines.
The following pieces of legislation, if passed, will help put us on the right path towards TOD implementation:
- S.B. 002: AAC Smart Growth and Job Creation
- S.B. 626: AAC Incentives for Transit-Oriented Development Projects
- S.B. 641: AAC Consultation Between the Department of Transportation and Regional Planning Agencies Prior to the Commencement of Certain Transportation Infrastructure Projects
A top priority for our Transit for Connecticut program are several bills that seek to commit funds to bus and rail service upgrades and to ensure that the monies in the Special Transportation Fund be used for transportation needs. These bills are extremely important since funding for transportation projects is currently scarce:
- H.B. 5122: An Act Committing Bus and Rail Fare Increases to Bus and Rail Upgrades
- H.B. 5128: AAC the Use of Revenue from Bus and Rail Fare Increases for Service Upgrades, Operations and Maintenance
- H.B. 5301: AAC Use of Revenues from Bus and Rail Fare Increases
- H.B. 5320: AAC the Revenue Raised from Public Transportation Fares
- H.B. 6039: An Act Limiting Expenditures from the Special Transportation Fund
- H.B. 6164: An Act Protecting the Revenue Deposited into the Special Transportation Fund
- S.B. 627: An Act Limiting the Use of Revenue Received for Transportation Fees to Transportation Purposes
While there are some very good bills out there currently, there are also some bad ones floating around, including several aimed at stopping the construction of CTfastrak and limiting its expenses.
The project is already under construction and, if stopped, all the federal funds the state has received for the project will disappear, unable to be used for any other transportation projects. That would be a giant loss for the state and hinder our chances at receiving future federal funds for major transportation infrastructure projects.
- S.B. 265: AAC the Construction and Funding of the New Britain-Hartford Busway
- H.B. 5543: An Act Limiting the Operating Expenses of the New Britain – Hartford Busway
- H.B. 6036: An Act Limiting the Costs of the New Britain – Hartford Busway
Stay tuned for the legislative highlights for our other programs!
Posted by Rebecca Kaplan, director of communications for CFE/Save the Sound