$45 Million for CT Bus Corridor

Imagine being able to avoid all that traffic on Interstate 84 -- just by hopping on the bus.

The dream of a bus corridor linking New Britain and Hartford took a step closer to reality on Tuesday when the federal government announced a boost of $45 million dollars for the project, according to state's transportation department.

The $569-million project, which has been on and off for years, involves building a bus-only, paved corridor along nearly 10 miles of unused rail lines through New Britain, Newington, West Hartford and Hartford.  Eleven stations would be built along the route -- all in an effort to relieve traffic jams on I-84.

The money for the busway project is part of a multi-million dollar package unveiled Tuesday.  It includes funding for more than a dozen transit projects nationwide.

"Central Connecticut commuters need this option. Highway congestion will be reduced, commuting times will be shortened and our overall economy will benefit, " said Gov. Jodi M. Rell.

Connecticut could get its hands on the money as early as this spring.

The bus corridor idea was introduced way back in 1998 with a whopping price tag of $75.3 million.  Concerns from neighbors, town leaders about the logistics, safety and escalating costs of the project delayed it for years.

"We have fought long and hard for the busway, and today's announcement means that the federal government has listened to, and accepted, our arguments" Rell said.

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