Former-Gov. John Rowland, on his afternoon talk show Tuesday, blasted the planned New Britain to Hartford busway calling it “the biggest boondoggle in Connecticut state history” and “a make-believe project driven only by union jobs.” Rowland and Pastor Will Marotti host the afternoon show on WTIC-AM radio. Gov. Dannel Malloy gave the go-ahead to the busway project this week.
Rowland ridiculed the 9.7-mile, $567 million busway saying, “If you have a parking space at your job, you’re not getting out of your car to take a bus.” Opponents of the busway say the corridor would be better used by a high-speed, commuter rail system. Proponents say the state would lose the 80-percent federal funding for the project if it wasn’t green-lighted and that the busway would create jobs immediately and stimulate the economy. The main argument for the busway is that it would take traffic off I-84. Some folks have serious questions about that claim—including Rowland.
While many would agree with Rowland, he showed himself to be unprepared on the subject, saying Malloy also wanted to “run a busway from Waterbury to Berlin.” Actually, Malloy proposed bonding (borrowing) $1 million to study a rail line from Waterbury to Bristol.
Meanwhile, Pastor Marotti who can be counted on for contradictory and flat-out whacky views, said the idea behind the busway was to make sure union workers have jobs and would then pay their dues which would then fund Democrats’ campaigns. He called it “Malloy’s reelection campaign kick-off.” Listeners can’t be blamed if they wondered whether they were listening to “State and Church” or “AM Coast to Coast.”
Rowland has never been a fan of mass transit. He once proposed a budget that would have completely defunded the Shoreline East railway which had shown substantial growth in ridership.