OLR Research Report

April 25, 2008




By: James J. Fazzalaro, Principal Analyst

COMMISSIONER OF TRANSPORTATION (CGS 13b-3, 13b-4,13b-57e, 15-101mm)

The transportation commissioner is responsible for all aspects of the planning, development, maintenance, and improvement of transportation in the state. Specific duties include: developing a comprehensive, integrated transportation policy; operating a modern, safe, efficient, and energy-conserving system of highway, mass transit, marine, and aviation facilities and services, including Bradley International Airport; cooperating with federal, state, interstate, and local agencies performing transportation activities; providing for the construction and repair of capital improvements needed to operate a safe and efficient transportation system; promoting coordinated and efficient use of all available and future modes of transportation; formulating and implementing plans to improve transportation safety; and studying means of providing parking facilities to encourage travel by combining motor vehicles and other forms of transportation. The commissioner also assists and interacts with the Connecticut Transportation Strategy Board to the extent provided by law (CGS 13b-57e) and serves on the Board of Directors for Bradley International Airport (CGS 15-101mm).


1. What do you see as your role as the transportation commissioner, particularly in light of the fact that the Connecticut Transportation Strategy Board and the Bradley Airport Board of Directors now have specific functions and responsibilities that interact with yours?

2. What particular challenges do you expect to face given the fact that you will be taking over an agency that may soon be facing significant reorganization issues?

3. What do you think may be realistic goals for the first year or two of your time as commissioner?

4. What is your view on the balance between use of in-house staff to implement projects and programs and the need for involving consultants and other types of outside assistance in this capacity?

5. Do you think there are opportunities to integrate state transportation investments with private sector development of the facilities and surrounding areas?

6. Connecticut relies heavily on federal aid for the majority of its capital expenditures for transportation projects and programs but, like many of the other Northeastern states this aid is shrinking. How do you think this situation can be addressed?

7. Other than funding issues, what do you consider to be the greatest constraints on and challenges for the state's current transportation system and its ability to meet future needs?

8. What innovative activities or strategies would you like to pursue at DOT to address the state's transportation problems?

9. How can unified rail service be accomplished in Connecticut? Is light rail an option? Would acquiring the New Haven-Springfield line from Amtrak help accomplish this?

10. Unlike most other states, the DOT commissioner has direct involvement in operating its major commercial airport facility in Bradley International Airport. What thoughts do you have on enhancing Bradley's role as a regional economic engine and meeting the challenge of its regional rivals such as Stewart Airport in Westchester County and T.F. Green Airport in Rhode Island?

11. What types of strategic planning would you like to see DOT do to meet future transportation and mobility needs? For example, how can the needs of an aging state population and the demands that will place on our transportation systems be addressed?

12. The I-95 corridor presents a never ending set of challenges to mobility and development in Connecticut. Are there new or innovative approaches or ideas you want to bring to DOT to find some meaningful solutions to these problems? Would you ever consider a fundamental redesign of I-95 to make it a completely modern transportation system?

13. In the last 26 years, Connecticut has increased the capacity of its highway system by only 1.9% while travel grows by 1.5% annually. Have we allowed increases in travel demand to outstrip our efforts to provide adequate highway capacity?

14. What does DOT need to do to address mobility issues in southeastern Connecticut in a more comprehensive way?

15. Despite the fact that more than 40% of DOT's annual operating budget goes to supporting transit services, the notion persists that DOT has a “highways first” approach to solving transportation problems. Why do you think needs to be done to address this perception?

16. What avenues would you like to pursue to reduce truck traffic on highways in Connecticut and provide truckers with adequate facilities for them to rest in safe areas rather than along the edge of the highway as they frequently do now?