Fairfield lawmakers blast DOT fare hikes

Fairfield lawmakers today issued the following statement regarding the state’s decision to hike rail and bus fares Dec. 1 despite vocal opposition from lawmakers and angry commuters:

Sen. Tony Hwang said, “This fare increase is just another tax on the backs of the working middle class in our state. This added financial burden comes with no additional infrastructure or rail service improvements, and that is unacceptable.  It also comes on top of two record-setting tax hikes in five years. Combined with rate increases in utilities and health insurance, this fare increase might just be the last straw that breaks the back of Connecticut taxpayers.  That truly is a shame, but I will say this:  I was proud to stand alongside state lawmakers, tireless commuter advocates like Jim Cameron, and fed up taxpayers in opposition to this hike. We came together at the fare hike public hearing to send a clear message: No Fare Increases. Our unified, reasonable voice of opposition obviously was not heard by state transportation officials. That’s just terribly disappointing and frustrating, but it won’t deter us from re-doubling our efforts to be a strong, persistent voice for commuters and taxpayers.  It will only motivate us to work harder in demanding that the people of Connecticut get heard.”

Rep. Laura Devlin said, “The decision to move ahead with these fare hikes without even acknowledging the opposition of a group of bipartisan legislators and the voices of almost 1,800 individuals these fares would hurt, is incredulous. This is the same arrogance we see in Hartford when it comes to discussing the state’s finances and budget. I can tell you the people I represent have had enough of the never-ending hits they are taking through tax hikes and fees. The majority party and Gov. Malloy need to stop balancing the budget on rosy revenue projections, then being forced to make ill-advised budget decisions when the revenue never ends up meeting what they say want to spend. Not including this increase, Metro North fare hikes have gone up over 20% in recent years with no tangible service improvements or infrastructure investments.”

Rep. Brenda Kupchick said, “We will not let this decision stand unchallenged, I and other legislators plan to propose legislation in January to repeal these rail fare hikes, the people of Fairfield and Southport deserve better than subpar rail service at a higher cost. The proposed fare increase is a direct result of the $37 million in cuts imposed on the DOT by the Malloy administration as part of the 2016-2017 revised state budget that was passed by majority legislators last May.”

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