ROADS/BRIDGES: Connecticut governor pushes for I-84 viaduct replacement

“The cost of inaction far outweighs the cost of action,” Malloy stated this week

Bridges News Hartford Courant November 19, 2015
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I-84 is a heavily used stretch of highway between Exit 45 and the I-91 interchange, as well as a key piece of Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy's $100 billion, 30-year proposal for overhauling the state’s transportation network.


In a recent pitch to shore up support for replacing the I-84 viaduct, Malloy assured voters that his multibillion-dollar project will recoup more than twice its cost through economic growth and savings for motorists.


"Making a down payment,” as the governor characterized the viaduct project, “will generate billions in economic activity and grow thousands of jobs.”


This statement was made as a response to legislators’ recent signals toward scaling back the governor's proposal due to worsening budget deficits. Lawmakers' first opportunities to do that would involve diverting transportation money to the state's general fund, and scaling back the design and engineering work that is budgeted for dozens of big-ticket highway and transit initiatives.


Malloy, however, remains adamant that his proposal is crucial to alleviating monetary and production costs lost to congestion and poorly maintained infrastructure.


“It's costing us $4.2 billion a year, the largest toll or undisclosed tax that anybody is paying in Connecticut,” Malloy said.


Malloy's administration released its own cost/benefit analysis of the viaduct project, concluding that it would save I-84 drivers more than $9 billion over the next 20 years through faster trips, better reliability, fewer accidents and reduced gas and vehicle maintenance costs; this would potentially translate to nearly three times the cost of the $3.4 billion project. State engineers estimate actual costs will be anywhere from $4 billion to $12 billion depending on whether the viaduct is replaced with another elevated highway, a ground-level highway or a tunnel.

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