CONNstruction - Fall 2011 - (Page 21)

interview: jack condlin, stamford chamber of commerce Jammed roadways and full trains Jack Condlin at the Stamford Chamber calls for infrastructure spending to combat traffic congestion Jack Condlin remembers a sunnier time in Stamford a decade ago when the unemployment rate was under one percent and one of the biggest challenges facing businesses was attracting enough workers to fill every position. That time seems a world away now. In June, Stamford’s unemployment rate was 8.2 percent, well below the state rate of 9.1 percent, but still dwarfing pre-recession levels. To Condlin, the president and CEO of the Stamford Chamber of Commerce, the city’s path back to prosperity is simple: upgrading the transportation infrastructure in the city and the surrounding area. Infrastructure projects would provide muchneeded construction jobs in the short term and help the city combat one of its biggest problems: bumper-to-bumper traffic that constrains Stamford’s economic growth. “Our transportation infrastructure in Connecticut, and particularly in the southwestern region, has really been lacking in reinvestment for a 30- or 40-year period,” Condlin said. “The state has ignored this area, and we’re the ones who have been dealing with the congestion on our highways that is virtually crippling traffic and stymieing the economic growth within the city.” Condlin said the Chamber did a survey about a decade ago that revealed Stamford, with a population of approximately 125,000, had a workforce of about 100,000. City residents made up about 40 percent of the workforce, and the remaining 60,000 workers were commuters who relied heavily on Interstate 95 and commuter trains to get into the city. The survey further found that the section of I-95 near Exit 8, which leads into the heart of the city, was seeing 164,000 vehicle trips per day, though it was originally designed for only 50,000. Additionally, there were very few operational lanes on the right side of I-95, so traffic got a bit worse each time a car entered the highway and struggled to get up to speed or slowed down in order to exit the highway. Drivers in the right lane would either have to slow down or switch lanes, which, in turn, forced drivers in those two lanes to slow down. The result is that sections of I-95 have become overloaded with cars, especially during rush hour, which, in actuality, lasts far longer than an hour these days. Condlin said commuters, desperate to avoid traffic delays, are forced to begin their commutes either earlier or later than usual. Instead of the morning rush hour ending about 9, it now lasts past 10; the afternoon rush hour, which used to begin around 4, now starts at 3. CONNstruction / Fall 2011 / 21

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CONNstruction - Fall 2011

Riding on Private Investments
Clean Water Fund Helps Create Infrastructure Jobs and Grow the State’s Economy
Public PLAs – Good or Bad?
Bioscience Connecticut Initiative: A Timely Investment
Shovel ready
Aiding economic growth
Wearing two hats
Jammed roadways and full trains
Major transportation initiatives in Connecticut
The Young Contractors Forum Summer Meeting
Associated General Contractors of Connecticut Annual Golf Outing
Connecticut Environmental and Utilities Contractors Association Spring Luncheon Meeting
The Connecticut Road Builders Association Spring Dinner Meeting
Connecticut Ready Mixed Concrete Association Annual Meeting
CTASLA/CCPC Pervious Concrete Workshop
Index to Advertisers/

CONNstruction - Fall 2011