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Letter: Don't make taypayers fund Y's road work

Published 12:28 pm, Friday, July 18, 2014
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When the Westport Weston Family Y wanted to build a new facility near Exit 41 of the Merritt Parkway, local officials were justifiably concerned about adding traffic to that intersection.

But the Y assured everyone that it would make the necessary changes to the roads and bear the entire cost of the work. In fact, the Y's website still says that this will be a "Y-financed traffic-mitigation" project. In reliance on that and other promises, the project was approved.

The roadwork is now complete, but the Y has apparently changed its mind and doesn't want to pay for it. The Y's powerful lobbyists have managed to get $3 million of state bonds authorized for this project -- which means that if the State Bond Commission approves the request, state taxpayers will have to foot the bill for the Exit 41 work.

Some people have tried to characterize this decision as good news for Westport and commuters from nearby towns. But that is nothing more than political spin. The Y contracted with a private construction company and the roadwork is already complete, which means that the only party who stands to benefit is the Y, which will be able to save millions.

Moreover, that characterization ignores the fact that these funds could have been allocated to far more worthy projects. Fairfield County residents are currently facing historically long and extremely difficult commutes thanks to the state's myriad infrastructure and transportation problems. To give away $3 million of taxpayer money to the Y, a private organization, in the face of so many other pressing public projects is reprehensible.

If you agree, please write to the State Bond Commission at Ben.Barnes@ct.gov and ask them to deny this funding request.

Sidney B. Kramer, chairman

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