A renewed emphasis on Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure could bring thousands of jobs to the state over the next five years, according to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy.

 

While announcing last month “an ambitious five-year plan” that includes massive improvements to the state’s transportation systems, Malloy said jobs would be among the plan’s many benefits.

 

“These projects will facilitate commerce, stimulate economic development, improve the daily commutes of countless residents and create thousands of immediate construction jobs,” Malloy said in a release.

 

Malloy has proposed a state transportation budget allotment of approximately $1.8 billion to fund the transportation improvement effort, delineated in the state Department of Transportation’s Transportation Capital Infrastructure Program for 2014-18, its most recent capital plan update. The sweeping plan lists improvements to the state’s highways and bridges; bus and railway fleet enhancements and facility maintenance and upgrades; and maritime port improvements.

 

Malloy made his announcement at the site of one of the planned projects, widening a section of I-84 in Waterbury. Among those in attendance were a number of lawmakers and business leaders, including John R. Rathgeber, president and CEO of the Connecticut Business & Industry Association. CBIA has announced its own initiative to bolster Connecticut’s standing throughout the nation as a major business attraction by the year 2017 (see story this issue). Improving the transportation system is a major component of that effort.

 

“A modern and efficient transportation infrastructure has long been cited as one of the key components of a competitive business climate,” said Rathgeber in the release. “As Connecticut strives to be one of the best states to do business, these investments are critical to accessing regional, national and global markets.”

 

Others with a vested interest in the transportation project’s job-creation aspect also went on record in support of it.

 

“As the investments that already have been made by Governor Malloy come online, people are returning to work and this is the time to step up the momentum and take the construction industry’s ability to drive jobs and economic activity to scale,” stated Don Shubert, president of the Connecticut Construction Industries Association. “These projects not only provide local jobs, but once the improvements are in place, all of the benefits go to Connecticut residents. These much-needed transportation improvements provide opportunities, change lives, and build stronger communities.”

 

The project will result in “a positive flow of goods, services and job creation,” said David Roche, president of the Connecticut State Building Trades. “Our workers look forward to doing their part to upgrading and rebuilding our highways, roads and bridges for a better Connecticut.”