Expanding entrance and exit lanes on Interstate 95 and the Merritt Parkway is one way to improve the transpiration situation in Fairfield, according to a plan released by Dan Debicella of Shelton, Republican candidate for Congress.

“For our roads, we can alleviate traffic by focusing on the ‘choke points’ on the Merritt and I-95 at busy exits, where cars are coming on and off the highway without a ramp leading up to the entrance or enough of an ‘exit/entrance’ lane to permit easy merging,” Debicella said.

“While this won’t solve traffic entirely, it is the most practical solution to reduce it,” Debicella said.

This idea is not that expensive, he said, “but one that requires someone to be a champion for it. As a congressman, coming up with joint state-federal plans for these choke points and securing the funding necessary to fix them will be a priority for me.”

A rematch with Himes

Debicella, a former two-term state senator, released his transportation plan during a Sept. 24 press conference at the Westport train station.

He is running against three-term Democratic incumbent Jim Himes in the 4th Congressional District, which includes much of Shelton as well as most of the rest of Fairfield County. Himes defeated Debicella in a 2010 race for the seat.

Debicella said his transportation plan “focuses on common-sense solution for both roads and rails — with realistic funding levels that we can obtain.”

Increase rail maintenance

When it comes to rail service, Debicella said he wants an enhanced maintenance and repair schedule for Metro-North Railroad tracks and electrical work.

“While there has been some poor management decisions, the deeper issue is Metro-North in recent years has prioritized the ‘shiny new thing’ over funding basic maintenance,” he said.

“Recent hours-long delays have been caused by switch problems, substation power failures, and poor track maintenance,” he said. “We need to develop a preventative maintenance plan to address these issues on a more rigorous schedule, rather than having to fix them after they break.”

Calls new station ‘political pandering’

Debicella was critical of Himes and Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy for supporting plans for a new, second train station in Bridgeport “rather than investing the money in basic maintenance to get the trains running on time.” He called it a case of “political pandering.”

He noted it’s been reported that a train ride into New York City now takes longer than it did 100 years ago.

Inadequate funding assistance?

Debicella said Fairfield County has not received adequate transportation funding from the federal or state governments, and it’s time to hold those in positions of power responsible for the region’s ongoing transportation woes.

“If your commute has gotten better, then vote for Jim Himes,” he said. “But if you think we need better solutions for our roads and rails, then vote for me to actually address these problems.”