When looking at Foley and Malloy on transportation, the choice is clear

FI-Talking-Transportation-Jim-CameronRegular readers of this column know that I’ve never been shy about criticizing Gov. Dannel Malloy for his transportation policies. But after hearing him and his Republican opponent, Tom Foley, discuss transportation in a recent forum, I am enthusiastically endorsing Malloy for re-election.

In my view, Tom Foley is clueless. He doesn’t understand the issues, has no new ideas and often refuses to address specifics.  If he is our next governor, mass transit in Connecticut is in serious trouble.

Since early in the campaign, Foley has said we spend too much on mass transit, often to the detriment of our roads. He also says it is not the state’s job to “purposefully push people out of their cars and onto mass transit.” Huh? Does Foley think that state troopers are blocking commuter access to I-95 and forcing them onto Metro-North? This is crazy-talk.

Both Foley and Malloy agree that traffic congestion is bad. But Foley offers no solutions, aside from saying we need more highways. Malloy acknowledges the traffic mess but says that spending more on mass transit will give drivers alternatives, encouraging (not forcing) them off the highways.

As for Metro-North, one wonders if Foley has ever stepped out of his BMW sedan and ridden the train. Foley says that the train from New Haven to Grand Central takes 20 minutes longer to make that run today than it did a century ago. True, but that’s not because the trains aren’t capable of higher speeds. They’re under speed limits by the FRA after the May 2013 Bridgeport derailment.

One issue where the candidates did show surprising agreement was highway tolls. Both Foley and Malloy acknowledged toll revenue may be needed for projects like widening I-84 and I-95 (east of Madison).

In campaigning, Mr. Foley’s constant mantra is that he’s a former CEO and knows how to get things done. But running state government is not like running a business. The governor only proposes but it’s up to the legislature to actually pass it. Foley’s only government experience was in two political patronage diplomatic appointments to Iraq and Ireland.

Like fellow Greenwich multi-millionaire and perennial GOP candidate Linda McMahon, Foley has never been elected to anything. In June 2009 he initially said he would run for the U.S. Senate against Chris Dodd, but then he chose the race for governor instead.

Though he has been running for office for five years, he’s never bothered to learn about the issues, speaking in vague generalities and often refusing to answer questions. When he is pinned down, Foley’s answer is often “I don’t know.”

When his campaign did take a position, on urban development, it turns out the Foley plan was plagiarized.

You may or may not like Dan Malloy, but at least you know where he stands. He has an encyclopedic command of facts and figures and is clearly a hands-on leader. Yes, he comes off as arrogant and a bit of a bully sometimes, but it’s clear that he, unlike Mr. Foley, cares about these issues and has a vision.

In the long run, the citizens of Connecticut will get the kind of governor they deserve. If they study the issues and really listen to the candidates, especially on this crucial issue of transportation, I hope that Dannel Malloy will get re-elected.

 

Jim Cameron is a longtime commuter and founder of the Commuter Action Group. The opinions expressed in this column are only his own. You may reach him at [email protected]

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