O’Dea calls for task force to streamline projects

State Rep. Thomas O’Dea (R-125) has added his voice to those in favor of simplifying approvals for bridge projects by proposing H.B. No. 5547, An Act Establishing a Task Force to Streamline the Process for Approving Bridge Projects.

The task force would study and recommend strategies to streamline the process for approving bridge projects in the state. It would include representatives of the Department of Transportation and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection and “shall submit proposals and recommendations to the General Assembly not later than January 1, 2014.”

“The time delays alone with the different state agencies resulted in cost overruns in both New Canaan and Wilton transportation projects that have resulted in a significant hardship on taxpayers,” said Mr. O’Dea, a member of the transportation committee.

Both towns in his district have had bridge projects — Bald Hill in Wilton and Lakeview Avenue Bridge Project in New Canaan — that have been delayed and made more expensive by an inefficient bureaucracy, he said.

“The governor is addressing this issue as well and it is something that can save taxpayers millions at no cost to the state by simply working more efficiently and improving coordination with local officials,” Mr. O’Dea said. “If the governor’s program addresses all of our concerns, then the need of a task force may be eliminated but we need to hear more about the governor’s program.”