On Tuesday, Connecticut broke ground on a 9.4-mile bus rapid transit project that promises to help revitalize the state’s economy and ensure a more sustainable future for Connecticut.
In addition to the groundbreaking, the project, previously known as the New Britain-Hartford Busway, was formally rebranded as CTfastrak. The new name was launched in tandem with a new CTrides public transportation branding campaign.
CTfastrak will bring rapid transit to the New Britain-Hartford corridor, where buses will come every three to six minutes during peak travel hours. It will have 11 stations, and it will also connect to more than 110 miles of transit routes, according to state Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s office. The system will also include a five-mile trail for pedestrians and cyclists and accommodate bicycles on buses.
Apart from the estimated 4,000 construction jobs that the project will bring to Connecticut, CTfastrak will also help stimulate economic development in areas close to the busway’s stations. Officials broke ground at what will become Parkville Station in Hartford, an area that is already a hub for smart development, with restaurants and artist lofts within walking distance of the station. With the introduction of CTfastrak facilities, this trend is expected to continue and grow. Officials anticipate that this type of economic development will occur throughout the transit corridor, with expectations bolstered by a recent surge of interest in downtown New Britain, where businesses are investing in properties within walking distance of CTfastrak.
The business and labor community’s support of the busway was evident at yesterday’s groundbreaking, where both Oz Griebel of MetroHartford Alliance and Ed Reilly of the Hartford Building Trades Council spoke. Malloy, Rep. John Larson (D-Conn.), state Department of Transportation Commissioner Jim Redeker, state Sen. Terry Gerratana, Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra, Simsbury First Selectman Mary Glassman and federal representatives also spoke.
CTfastrak — along with last year’s transit-oriented development grants and the continued progress of the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield commuter rail project — continues the trend of investment in initiatives that help residents get around on transit, bikes and foot, a trend that has picked up steam since Malloy took office 16 months ago.
“With the investment in bus rapid transit, putting new railcars in service in southern Connecticut, and moving forward to build interstate higher speed rail, we are well on our way to turning the page on years of neglect,” said Malloy at the groundbreaking.
Service on CTfastrak is expected to begin in 2014.