The Connecticut League of Conservation Voters Education Fund today released a comprehensive transportation guide for Connecticut. In an easy-to-read format, the guide is a call to action that promotes a vision for an efficient 21st Century transportation system. The guide serves as a roadmap for the public, legislators and policy makers to build a better statewide transportation system that helps Connecticut economically, while respecting natural resources and sense of place.

   “Investing in transportation is an investment in Connecticut’s future,” said Lori Brown, Connecticut League of Conservation Voters Executive Director. “It has become a central issue in our state, impacting everything from our health and natural resources, to the economy and a sustainable future.”

   Transportation is a top priority for the state and the region. The Coalition of Northeastern Governors (CONEG) recently named Gov. Dannel P. Malloy its lead governor for transportation. Gov. Malloy will serve as the chief coordinator to advocate and advance transportation policy initiatives for CONEG.

   The guide spells out the benefits and options available for creating a better transportation system for the environment, the economy and public health. It gives context to investment issues such as Amtrak’s new $150 billion high speed rail proposal. Lessons from other states are also highlighted.

   Transportation impacts everyone and costs us all. Investing in a transportation system that provides connectivity and travel choices to serve all users results in positive economic benefits and creates jobs.

   James Redeker, Commissioner, Department of Transportation, said: “This authoritative and thoughtful guide — crammed with information all of us can use — will be an important tool and resource as we move Connecticut and its multimodal transportation network forward. Whether you’re commuting to work by train or carpool, walking your child to school, or biking across a covered bridge, we are making every effort to enhance the system everyone counts on every day. CTLCV is to be commended for pulling this guide together and encouraging us to stay involved at every level.”

   In Connecticut, transportation produces 43% of greenhouse gas emissions with single passenger cars producing the largest share. Reducing congestion on our roads and miles traveled by car will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve our air quality. Stormwater that runs off the roads into nearby waterways carries pollutants into our water. Better transportation planning and use of innovative techniques can improve water quality.

   Daniel Esty, Commissioner, Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, remarked: “The CTLCV transportation guide is timely and relevant. Our agency is currently drafting a Comprehensive Energy Plan that considers the impact of the transportation sector on our energy needs and on the long term viability of Connecticut’s environment. Many of the recommendations in this guide align with our efforts and reinforce the need for the state to set policies to reduce our energy consumption and preserve our natural resources.”

   CTLCV’s transportation guide not only identifies issues, but also proposes action. The guide shows how to take action as a constituent, with ten policy recommendations that citizens can take to lawmakers. Concrete policy suggestions can help legislators implement a more environmentally friendly, affordable, and health-conscious transportation system. Policy recommendations include developing a multi-modal transportation system, implementing “green” infrastructure, supporting transit-oriented development, developing new sources of funding, and making walking and biking safer.

   Senator Andrew Maynard (D-18), Co-Chair of the Legislative Transportation Committee, commented: “A well thought out and efficient multimodal transportation system is essential to both our economy and our quality of life here in Connecticut. Complete Streets and other recommendations of the CTLCV transportation guide provide a framework for transforming and connecting our communities. Pedestrian and bicycle friendly roadways and mass transit options that are part of the new system we are building will transform the quality of life and enjoyment of both residents and visitors alike.”

   A multimodal transportation system will also lead to better land use. Focusing development near transit stations and making our streets safer so people can easily access jobs, retail and housing will reduce sprawl and allow us to grow while preserving our natural resources.

   Senator Toni Boucher (R-26), ranking member of the Legislative Transportation Committee, agreed: “The new CTLCV guide — “Getting Where You Want To Go” —shows us that we have an extraordinary opportunity to use smart growth to conserve both money and natural resources, while enhancing the beauty of our state and the quality of life in our communities. Smart growth strategies such as transit oriented development (TOD) are a great way for communities to balance their transportation needs with environmental preservation. Redefining our transportation systems to accommodate a greater variety of travel options, such as buses and rails, will reduce congestion and pollution and encourage more efficient land use.”