A multi-million-dollar transportation hub will soon be built in the center of Waterbury, and naming honors may well go to the highest bidder.
Thanks to a new law backed by Gov. M. Jodi Rell, companies will be able to bid on naming rights for train stations, parking garages and other large state transportation structures.
Among other things, the law instructs the Department of Transportation to begin drafting rules and costs for the fund-raising effort. The resulting criteria will require a second approval by lawmakers, said DOT spokesman Kevin Nursick.
Proceeds from the name-selling, which could take two years or more for Waterbury to begin, will be reinvested in transportation, preferably into the structures whose naming appeal brought in the money, Nursick said.
The structure with the most appeal with likely be the transportation center, which has yet to be built. The plan is to build a downtown hub for rail, taxi and bus services. City officials are close to securing state funding.
Waterbury Mayor Michael J. Jarjura said he isn’t too concerned with what the center is called, so long as it gets built.
"A rose by any other name is still a rose," Jarjura said. "I just want this rose to start growing."
Donna Palomba, a managing member of Waterbury-based marketing firm the Worx Group, said she believes there's a ready market in Connecticut for buying naming rights.
"I think it can be a powerful means of communication in building brand awareness," Palomba said. "You would base it on how many times people are going to pass this station or take this train."