This is an open letter to U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-Greenwich)
Thank you for your newsletter I received on June 16th in which you summarize the deplorable condition of Metro-North transportation infrastructure. I can’t determine if it is truly forward motion or political spin. So I have some questions.
You became a member of Congress in January 2009. Suddenly 2,000 days later, Metro-North, which you acknowledge on your website “allows hundreds of thousands of people to commute daily” is in crisis. Where have you been the past 66 months? You state that Metro-North just released its 100-Day Action Plan. Did you ever complete a 100-day master plan outlining your priorities in the past 5-plus years while in office? If so, when? And where was your priority for the Norwalk bridge that was built 118 years ago – the same year the stove was invented?
According to a June 15th article in The Connecticut Mirror, a new Norwalk bridge will cost $465 million. In February 2011, funding for the $569 million 9-mile dedicated bus way from New Britain to Hartford was less than 10 percent funded and still needed $266 million before contracts were signed. Please provide documentation of your efforts going back two years into your term, to oppose the bus way and documented recommendations for more fiscally responsible projects. Flashback to your 12 years at Goldman Sachs – would your promotions have continued if you supported such a lopsided investment such as the bus way that will require 16,000 riders per DAY….to break even? Keeping in mind Metro-North carries as many as 225,000 per day?
Shockingly, The Mirror article exposes a sleazy end-around being undertaken as a last ditch effort to secure funding for the Norwalk bridge. As described, the scam involves raiding what is known as “Sandy resiliency money.” To remind you, to qualify for funding, a project must “protect critical transit infrastructure from being damaged or destroyed by future natural disasters.” Flood of 1938? Bridge is still standing. Flood of ’55 with back to back hurricanes in August? Still standing. Sandy? Katrina? Still standing. June 6, sunshine and 73 degrees and the bridge does not open – suddenly that is the catalyst for a shady attempt to qualify for funds buried in a Sandy Slush Fund?! Why do you support raiding a fund in such a shady manner? Was it the crazy, heavy burdensome sunshine and 3 mph wind that caused the bridge to collapse? Oh, wait – I do recall reading about Hurricane Bullstink that ravaged Norwalk that sunny Friday in June.
You stated in your newsletter you are “frustrated and appalled.” So am I. The management by crisis process being followed by Obama, Himes, Murphy, Blumenthal, Malloy, & Duff LLC must end. I look forward to your reply.