Dan Gilmore / June 2, 2015

CT Governor Eroding Home Rule Over Rail Line

In his effort to form the Constitution State into a top-down, leftist utopia, Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy tried to give a semi-public agency power over the state’s towns. For years, the rail line connecting New Haven to Springfield, Massachusetts, operated at a sluggish pace. But the state envisions a time when people would live and shop close to the train stations, using the public transportation to commute to Connecticut cities. But for that vision to be realized, it seems Malloy has to demolish the idea of the idyllic New England town based on home rule. When Malloy introduced legislation that would create a semi-public organization that would manage the rail projects in the state, the Transit Corridor Development Authority, the governor quietly gave the organization power to exercise eminent domain over any property a half-mile around every train station. Let’s just say such a move threatened the power of the locally elected zoning board in every town where the train stops. The bill has since been amended. But Connecticut’s free market think tank, Yankee Institute, argues the agency is still harmful, writing, “the bill would still create the TCDA as a top-down, state-run agency allowing little input or independent oversight. And once the TCDA exists, Malloy would likely try to use it to pursue his aims.” Meanwhile, the president of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities — the very person who should be most concerned about a possible loss of home rule — is willing to disregard all that in favor of more handouts: “The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) and its 156 member municipal leaders have long advocated for additional investment and improvements to our state and local transportation infrastructure…”

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