James Oberstar, Chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure came to Southeastern Connecticut Friday. He wanted to see the region's transportation needs first-hand.
Oberstar met with local and state leadership, including Congressman Joe Courtney, to lay the groundwork for next year's Transportation Policy Bill.
One of the primary focuses of the bill will be "intermodal" policy. According to Courtney, New London fits the profile, as the city contains port, surface, and rail transportation.
"We literally have Ferry service, we have ships entering the port of New London, we've got Amtrak coming through at one of the most historic train stations in America, And obviously I-95 goes right through that area as well."
Residents of the 2nd district have long complained about much-needed transportation spending - especially with the growing traffic from the two tribal casinos. Courtney cites the stalemate over the Route 11 project, which has remained unfinished for decades.
Chairman Oberstar says he's astonished to see the state of the highway - saying there are logging roads in his district that are in better shape.
"I can see the need, I can see the importance of completing the environmental impact statement, sign-off by the state, and the need to move ahead with this project before construction costs drive it out of sight."
Oberstar says Governor Jodi Rell has to make a commitment to demonstrate that the State is willing to commit 20 percent to the federal 80 percent of the cost of the completed project.