On behalf of the Westport Citizens Transit Committee (CTC), I would like to strongly encourage the restoration of the Westport Transit District (WTD) funds initially requested in the first selectman's 2015 budget request. Our committee feels that these funds are essential to enabling the volunteer transit directors to fulfill their mission and the promise of safe, affordable, effective and convenient transportation within and around Westport.

WTD is not simply about shuttle buses, but about addressing the chronic and critical transportation issues of traffic congestion, limited parking, pedestrian safety, air pollution and even business and citizen productivity in and around Westport. In a CTC Interim Transportation Report issued in January 2013, the CTC highlighted these issues and our recommendations specifically called for dedicating town resources and funding for transportation-expertise and marketing. We stand by these recommendations.

We applaud First Selectman Marpe's committed efforts to work with our transit directors to address the day-to-day town transportation challenges, discuss transportation policies and for his support for the WTD during this budget process. As a town, we need to build on his transportation leadership and vision.

Transportation in Westport is a 24/7 reality that directly affects our daily quality of life and business in and around Westport. Our town needs the skilled and full-time attention of a transportation professional and funds to effectively communicate and engage with Westport's diverse community of administrators, citizens and businesses, as well as federal, state and transit agencies which provide grants, services and funding for transportation systems like the one in Westport.

Let's make a smart and committed investment of our resources and budget to address the growing challenge of transportation in and around Westport. Restoring the WTD funds is an important step in the right direction. Please restore the WTD funds.

Jim Ross

Chairman

Westport Citizens Transit Committee