Gov. Dannel P. Malloy by the Charter Oak Bridge at an event earlier this year promoting transportation investments CTMIRROR.ORG
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy by the Charter Oak Bridge on ramp that backs up afternoon, but not Tuesday.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy by the Charter Oak Bridge ramp that backs up afternoon — just not during his press conference.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy once called himself the “anti-Christie,” a gibe at New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Now, his staff has produced the anti-Bridgegate: That’s when you count on a traffic jam, and it doesn’t happen.

Malloy held a press conference Tuesday at a spot picked for its view of a single-lane on-ramp to the Charter Oak Bridge in Hartford that reliably backs up onto I-91, perfect to illustrate why he has made transportation infrastructure a priority.

The governor announced that a project in 2018 will “construct two lanes of traffic to get onto the bridge, as opposed to the one lane that is currently causing such a big problem.”

“Except today,” muttered a state employee.

The ramp was clear.

Malloy shrugged off the unusual absence of a traffic jam at Exit 29, where motorists leave I-91 north to cross the Connecticut River and connect with I-84 east.

“I have to tell you about three weeks ago I came by this section, where it was backed up — and it can go as far back as Wethersfield,” Malloy said.

On that day, Malloy said, he witnessed three accidents. Eighty-eight accidents are reported there annually. On some days, the traffic backs up 1.4 miles to the Wethersfield Cove.

Malloy, who was on the second day of a road show promoting last week’s passage of a budget that sets aside a half-point of the sales tax for transportation, said he favors protecting the new revenue in a “lockbox.”

Statutory limits on how funds can be spent can be overridden by subsequent legislatures, but the governor said a state law would be helpful until a constitutional amendment can be passed.

The General Assembly is returning in special session later this month, but the call of the session does not include consideration of a lockbox.

Malloy said he intends to ask legislative leaders to broaden the call of the special session.

Mark is the Capitol Bureau Chief and a co-founder of CT Mirror. He is a frequent contributor to WNPR, a former state politics writer for The Hartford Courant and Journal Inquirer, and contributor for The New York Times.

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