MELANIE CAROL STENGEL / C-HIT.ORG

What the heck is going on with our highways… and why is nobody talking about it? Did you know that 20,000 Americans died on our roadways in the first half of this year… and that that number has been increasing since the pandemic? Have you noticed how aggressive drivers have become in the past year? Or how much speeding is going on, unchallenged?

Why is traffic getting so bad, all day long, on our interstates and parkways? Rush hour starts about 5:30 am and, with the exception of a lunchtime break, runs the full day and into the evening? From Bridgeport to Greenwich it almost looks like LA.

Why are all these vehicles on the road, especially the commuters? Why aren’t they on the train? How do they tolerate those bumper-to-bumper conditions, every day? No wonder they’re filled with rage!

We’re deep into the fall campaign season, yet “transportation” doesn’t seem to be getting much attention, at least not as much as in years past, despite this worsening situation.

Some candidates are posturing but making few promises and certainly not addressing the root causes of the carnage on our highways.

Where’s the discussion of our under-staffed, under-funded State Police? Or the problems they and many PDs have had in hiring new recruits? It’s almost a daily occurrence that people are shot on the street in our cities, often in broad daylight. There was even a shooting near the capitol in Hartford.

If laws don’t get enforced and calls continue about “defunding the police,” are we really surprised that road rage grows exponentially, unchallenged? Even Metro-North is beefing up a police presence, assigning MTA PD cops to ride our trains for the first time in my memory. They didn’t send their officers to enforce the mask mandate during the pandemic, but now they can “show the colors” and at least make commuters feel safe as they return to commuting in record numbers.

I’m no knee-jerk “law and order” reactionary, but something must be done to restore civility and law enforcement to our roads and rails, for everyone’s sake. Pedestrian deaths, highway fatalities and street shootings are just not acceptable and I hope every candidate this fall is challenged by you, the voters, to address these important issues.

Jim Cameron | Columnist

Jim Cameron is founder of the Commuter Action Group and advocates for Connecticut rail riders. He writes a weekly column called "Talking Transportation" for CT Mirror and other publications in the state. Read past Talking Transportation columns here. Contact Jim at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com.