2019 TRANSPORTATION SHOWCASE ADDRESSED IMPORTANCE OF TRANSPORTATION TO BUSINESS GROWTH
How does Connecticut’s public transit system drive economic development? This was among the questions addressed as CTrides, a program of the CT Department of Transportation (CT DOT), presented its 2019 Connecticut Transportation Showcase on November 7th at The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine (JAX) In Farmington.
This year’s theme for the Transportation Showcase was "Transportation's Economic Impact on Connecticut Businesses". The Showcase featured opening remarks by CTDOT Commissioner Joseph Giulietti followed by a panel discussion among prominent business and government representatives. Governor Lamont gave closing remarks.
“For generations, the state has neglected critical investments in our infrastructure, hampering economic growth and leaving residents in endless hours of traffic wondering why state officials didn’t fix these problems years ago,” Governor Lamont said. “For the future of our state, we can no longer kick the can down the road on these improvements—we must fix this long overdue problem and move our state forward today.”
Commissioner Giulietti, in setting the framework for the discussion, said that Connecticut’s future economic growth is dependent on a well-maintained and accessible transportation system. “Fortunately, Connecticut has an increasingly robust system that serves the needs of companies who are looking to grow and provides access to a skilled and diverse labor market. It also provides access to the many educational institutions around the state. While we face financial and operational challenges, we have a good plan moving forward to keep Connecticut competitive.”
Transportation Showcases panelists included the Honorable Erin Stewart, Mayor, New Britain; Mark Ojakian, President, Connecticut State Colleges & Universities (CSCU); Dr. Stephen Coan, President & CEO, Mystic Aquarium; and LuAnn Ballesteros, Vice President, External and Government Affairs, The Jackson Laboratory.
The panelists explored the impact of new and existing transportation services and programs on their economic development. Mayor Stewart remarked on the importance of the bus rapid transit system, CTfastrak, on the town’s growth. “In light of this new and high quality transit system that links downtown New Britain to Hartford, we created a development program around the new station that would attract both businesses and residents. We are pleased that this ‘transit oriented development’ has been so successful in bringing new economic and mobility options for so many people”
All types of organizations depend on having good transportation options for their workforce. "At The Jackson Laboratory, an independent, nonprofit biomedical research institution, we have over 490 employees, students, and affiliates residing in over 75 different municipalities across Connecticut. It is critically important for the attraction and retention of these highly skilled workers that we have quality, reliable commuting options like the bus, and we’re pleased to collaborate with CTrides," said Ballesteros.
Access to affordable transportation is of prime importance to students at Connecticut's institutions of higher learning. President Ojakian spoke to the success of the “U-Pass”, which grew from a partnership between CTDOT and CSCU. “The U-Pass takes down a financial roadblock of getting to school for thousands of Connecticut students," he said. "For a $20-per-semester fee students are able without additional cost to ride all local buses, CTrail and CTfastrak. This has made a major difference to so many students who otherwise might not be able to attend college.”
With the many attractions that residents attend and bring in so many out-of-staters, clearly good transportation options are of vital importance. “Strong public transit and transportation infrastructure is essential to expanding tourism to include the outer markets,” said Dr. Coan. “The access that is provided by Shore Line East and the Cross Sound Ferry has for many years played a key role in the success of Mystic Aquarium as the largest tourist attraction in Connecticut.”
The Transportation Showcase was sponsored in part by The Jackson Laboratory, CT SHRM and J. fiereck Photography. For more information on public transit, ride sharing and other commuter options, please visit www.CTrides.com
CTrides, a service of the Connecticut Department of Transportation, works with employers and the public to improve commuting to work while helping to reduce traffic congestion and harmful emissions from unnecessary driving. Find out more about your low cost and healthier commuting options, carpooling, vanpooling, bus, rail, , teleworking, walking and biking, at www.CTrides.com
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