PA 10-159—sHB 5455 (VETOED; OVERRIDDEN)

Transportation Committee

Appropriations Committee

AN ACT CONCERNING THE MASTER TRANSPORTATION PLAN, THE FACILITIES ASSESSMENT REPORT, THE CONNECTICUT PILOT AND MARITIME COMMISSIONS, A REVIEW OF THE STATE TRAFFIC COMMISSION AND CHANGES TO THE STAMFORD TRANSPORTATION CENTER, AND REQUIRING NEW CROSSWALKS TO PROVIDE TIME FOR THE SAFE CROSSING OF PEDESTRIANS

SUMMARY: This act modifies the scope of the Department of Transportation's (DOT) master transportation plan and the factors the DOT commissioner must consider in preparing it. It requires DOT to prepare an assessment of existing transportation facilities every even-numbered year, rather than annually, and specifies the factors the commissioner must consider in developing this assessment. It requires DOT to, among other things, review the State Traffic Commission's procedures and develop a plan to improve the timeliness of its permit application and decision process. It requires that newly designated crosswalks have markings and other features the traffic authority considers necessary to give pedestrians enough time to cross safely.

The act eliminates reimbursement of necessary expenses for members of the Connecticut Pilot and Connecticut Maritime commissions. By law, the former advises the commissioner on the licensure of pilots, the safe conduct of vessels, and the protection of the ports and waters of the state, including Long Island Sound. The latter advises the commissioner, the governor, and the legislature on the state's maritime policy and operations and various other issues.

The act requires DOT's State Maritime Office to provide staff support to the Pilot Commission; it already supports the Maritime Commission. It requires DOT to review the State Traffic Commission's procedures for granting permits to certain large developments.

The act also:

1. more precisely specifies the location of the Donald F. Reid Memorial Bridge in Norwalk;

2. requires DOT, by June 30, 2011, to remove sand and debris deposited by highway storm drains into the pond located at 245 Wolcott Road, in Wolcott, adjacent to Route 69;

3. requires that the proceeds of bonding authorized in 2007 be used for repairing, reconstructing, or expanding the parking garage at the Stamford Transportation Center, rather than building a garage there; and

4. eliminates the authorization for these funds to be used for the acquisition of rights-of-way and other property and related projects.

EFFECTIVE DATE: Upon passage

MASTER TRANSPORTATION PLAN

The act eliminates the requirement that the DOT commissioner, in developing this plan, investigate and study all existing transportation facilities and services in the state and examine the feasibility of planning a long-term commercial transportation system, with the goal of coordinating all transportation services. Instead, it requires the commissioner to consider DOT's statutory responsibilities, the guiding principles and transportation strategies adopted by the governor and legislature, the state Plan of Conservation and Development, the factors that are required to be considered under the current federal surface transportation authorization legislation, and DOT's assessment of existing transportation facilities (described below).

The act requires the commissioner in preparing the plan, to consider all reports and studies relating to the planning and development of the state, rather than just those prepared under the Connecticut interregional planning program. It additionally requires him to consider regional long-range transportation plans prepared by regional planning organizations in the state.

As under prior law, the act requires that the plan indicate the priorities for the next five years, both by need and by fiscal capability, but for each mode of transportation rather than just public transportation. It eliminates the requirement that the plan indicate these priorities for the next two years for public transportation.

By law, the commissioner must identify the federal funds to be received by DOT annually by category. The act eliminates the reference to obsolete federal transportation legislation and instead refers to the current federal surface transportation authorization legislation. It also eliminates references to specific funding programs under the former federal legislation.

ASSESSMENT OF TRANSPORTATION FACILITIES

The act eliminates the requirement that the commissioner consult with the Connecticut Public Transportation Commission (CPTC), which must advise him on rail and motor carrier facilities and services, in developing the assessment of transportation facilities. Instead, it requires him to consider the plans and recommendations prepared by the various boards, councils, and commissions that have statutory responsibilities for the various modes of transportation in Connecticut. It also requires him to consider reports, plans, surveys, and studies relating to transportation prepared by any state agency or for or by the state's regional planning organizations. The act expands from CPTC to all state agencies, boards, councils, commissions, and regional planning organizations, who can help the commissioner prepare this plan.

STATE TRAFFIC COMMISSION

By law, a State Traffic Commission certificate is required for certain large developments that affect state highways. The act requires DOT to review the commission's procedures and prepare a statistical analysis of the average length of time from the date an application is submitted to when the commission approves or denies it, including the number and date of applications that are withdrawn. DOT must also develop a plan to improve the timeliness of the commission's permit application and decision process. The plan must clarify and justify any new requirements the commission imposes on permit applicants and include provisions to promote fairness for applicants. DOT must report on the review and the permit application plan to the Transportation Committee by December 31, 2010.

CROSSWALKS

By law, traffic authorities can designate, by devices, markers, or lines on the highway, crosswalks and intersections that are dangerous for pedestrians crossing a highway. The act specifies that the devices must be official control devices as defined by statute. By law, the traffic authority for local roads can be one of several local officials or agencies; for state highways, the State Traffic Commission is the traffic authority.

The act requires that any crosswalk designated by a traffic authority on or after October 1, 2010 have markings, signage, or any control signals the authority considers necessary to provide sufficient time for the safe crossing of pedestrians.

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