Letter: State transportation spending is ‘out of control’

To the Editor:

I never realized how much bloat we had in the state transportation budget until I studied the numbers.

Connecticut has about 21,000 miles of paved roads, out of which the state maintains 3,733 miles.

My city of Shelton maintains 210 miles of road for $2.9 million a year, or about $14,000 per mile.

According to the city of New Haven, the average cost to mill and pave a road is $15 per square yard, or $176,000 per mile for a roadbed 20 feet wide (the basic two-lane road). This means that Shelton pays enough to repave every road in the city every 12.5 years. This sounds reasonable to me.

To maintain our bridges, nationally we need about $70.9 billion to fix all of them. Connecticut has 383 structurally deficient bridges out of 68,842, so we need about $394 million to fix ours. We should be able to fix them all in 12.5 years for a state cost of $31.5 million a year.

Plowing, sanding and cutting the grass in the medians? Small money.

The transportation department shouldn’t pay a cent for railroad, airports or buses. These should be supported by user fees or be left to die.

If Shelton can maintain 210 miles of two-lane road for $2.9 million a year, the state should be able to maintain 3,733 miles of four-lane road for $103 million a year.

This means that the state transportation budget should be about $135 million, right?

Wrong. The state transportation budget is $610 million, without including the compounded interest on the bonds used to finance the projects. The state issued $600 million in transportation bonds in 2011 alone.

Now the governor wants $1 billion more. Say what?

We need to demand a serious accounting from the governor. This is out of control.

Martin Hoffmann is a Shelton resident.