Next Wednesday, Oct. 24 Wilton residents will have the opportunity to provide input on transportation in the region–everything from roads, bus and rail lines–at a meeting designed to solicit public opinion. The meeting, at 7 p.m. in the Wilton Library’s Rimer Room, is part of the Western Council of Government’s Long-Range Transportation Plan, something required by the Federal government in order for municipalities to receive federal funds for a project.

The meeting is being co-sponsored by the Western Council of Governments (WestCOG), which has been appointed by the Governor to develop the plan for our region. The Council includes mayors and first selectmen and women from 18 area towns.

First selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice sits on WestCOG and is a member of the Council’s executive committee. She says it’s critical for Wilton residents to be part of the planning by giving their input. “If you want to see changes and improvements to transportation, then come and express your priorities,” she writes in a post on Facebook.

Getting federal funding is critical for any transportation project to happen; Vanderslice also noted that most transportation projects in CT happen after being funded 80% by the Federal government and 20% by the State. Per federal requirements, each municipal planning organization must prepare a Long-Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) every four years as a prerequisite for federal transportation funding. The LRTP covers a 25-year study period and serves as a guide for developing a transportation system that is accessible, safe, and reliable.

The Wilton meeting is the 7th out of seven meetings in total that WestCOG is holding in preparation for the long-range transportation plan; the other six towns holding meetings include New Canaan, Stamford, Greenwich, Newtown, Redding and Bethel.

According to the WestCOG website, during the development of the LRTP, many topics are studied to better understand emerging demographic and transportation trends in the region. Understanding these demands allows the region to identify short and long term investments that will enhance the transportation system. Based on findings from the data analysis, as well as feedback from the public and municipalities, the LRTP will develop investment strategies to guide transportation improvements. These strategies will be fiscally-constrained and will be phased over a 25-year period.

There are certain factors that LRTP is meant to address:

  • Supporting the economic vitality of the metropolitan area, especially by enabling global competitiveness, productivity, and efficiency
  • Increasing safety of the transportation system for motorized and non-motorized users
  • Increasing security of the transportation system for motorized and non-motorized users
  • Increasing accessibility and mobility of people and freight
  • Protecting and enhancing the environment, promoting energy conservation, improving the quality of life, and promoting consistency between transportation improvements and State and local planned growth and economic development patterns
  • Enhancing the integration and connectivity of the transportation system, across and between modes, for people and freight
  • Promoting efficient system management and operation
  • Emphasizing the preservation of the existing transportation system
  • Improving the resiliency and reliability of the transportation system and reduce or mitigate storm water impacts of surface transportation
  • Enhancing travel and tourism.