1. How is the region addressing the education gap issue?
In conjunction with a multitude of public and private partners, extensive support is being given to New Haven and the ring towns of East Haven, West Haven and Hamden where the discrepancy is most extreme. Organizations such as the New Haven Manufacturers Association are working with community colleges to expand STEM course offerings as well offering training seminars for public school teachers to update them on the necessary skills for the available jobs.
In addition to these laudable efforts, click here was launched in 2011. New Haven Promise is a first-of-its-kind scholarship program in Connecticut. Promise is a location-based program that provides scholarships up to 100% tuition for residents and graduates of New Haven Public Schools and approved charter schools who meet specific civic and academic criteria. For statistics on the program, click here.
2. In recent years, Greater New Haven has experienced multiple "storms of the century". What are the plans to address ongoing issues of climate change?
Initial efforts have focused on improving shoreline infrastructure for power and flood control. The South Central Regional Council of Governments was given a grant to develop a Multi-Jurisdiction Hazard Mitigation Plan for Bethany, Branford, Hamden, Madison, North Branford, North Haven, Orange, Wallingford, West Haven and Woodbridge. The five additional municipalities in the Region (East Haven, Guilford, Meriden, Milford, and New Haven) have completed or are currently working on their own hazard mitigation plans and participated in the development of the Regional Plan. Additional details can be found on the SCRCOG website. Click here to download the Fact Sheet. One of the initiatives being considered by the municipalities is the joint ownership of snow removal machinery to address the trend in increased annual snowfall.
The region's utility companies have also partnered with the municipalities in developing and executing a responsible tree trimming initiative. The plan balances the environmental and service concerns.
3. How is South Central Connecticut managing municipal spending and supporting local vendors?
The South Central Regional Council of Governments is conducting a study to identify best opportunities for cost savings through multi-town collaboration in the provision of services and the performance of government operational functions, in particular purchasing. The study will also explore possible cost-saving collaborations between municipalities and Boards of Education, as well as possibilities for inter-municipal equipment sharing. This process includes many representatives from the towns as well as REX Development.
In 2015, a buy local program was initiated with Yale-New Haven Hospital and Yale University and select local food vendors. This program is anticipated to expand.
In addition, SCRCOG is in the process of implementing a regional GIS system to bring all towns in the region to the same level of sophistication.
Regional vendors are being identified to provide essential goods and services throughout the region while maintaining costs.
4. In what ways does the region collaborate with the State of Connecticut to support economic development?
The region is committed to leveraging the economic development efforts of the State. Each year, a diverse group of organizations present legislators with a collaborative legislative agenda to clarify the most critical issues facing the region. Alexion, one of the key projects in New Haven, has received funding through the State's First Fifteen program. In addition, the region is designated a Economic Development District byboth the State and U.S. Economic Development Administration which allows us to pursue grants, programs and incentives available to the region as an EDD. We recognize that the core issues affecting economic development must be addressed at the regional level and utlize all of the tools at our disposal. The region is committed to continued development of a strong core city that will in turn create vibrant ring cities and suburban towns through increased employment and economic activity.
In addition to collaborating with the Department of Economic and Community Development, we also coordinate our efforts with other economic development agencies throughout the state. We participate in quarterly meetings to identify conference and trade show opportunities. Each entity provides information on their schedules and we share collateral to prevent excess spending.
5. How are you addressing aging transportation infrastructure issues?
In 2015, the State of Connecticut launched a $100 billion, 30 year plan to bolster the State's transportation infrastructure called Let's Go Connecticut! Details of the plan can be found at www.transformct.com
Our 2013-2018 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy identified transportation as a critical component to the economic vitality of the region. The Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge Project (a.k.a. Q-bridge or New Haven Harbor Crossing Corridor Improvement Program) is scheduled to be completed in 2016.
Downtown Crossing in New Haven is in the process of transforming Rt. 34 from a highway to city streets that will reconnect the medical district and downtown. This project is a key component of the move of Alexion back to New Haven.
After a very difficult 2013, Metro-North is working on substantial infrastructure upgrades to the rail lines. In addition, over 200 new M8 cars were in service between New Haven and Grand Central Station. In addition, New Haven's Union Station also provides Amtrak service. In 2012, Union Station was Amtrak’s 10th busiest station in the U.S. with a ridership of 745,530.
The City of New Haven, REX Development and the South Central Regional Council of Governments continue to be active participants in the implementation of the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield rail line In 2016, a new high-speed commuter rail service, as a result of the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Rail Program. This program will provide easy access to cities along the north-south rail corridor. Several of the Region’s municipal plans of conservation and development have policies that recognize the rail stations and major transportation corridors as areas of sustainable future growth.
These organizations also represent the region's interests during the ongoing planning for Amtrak's Next Gen High Speed Rail Service between Washington and Boston.
2014 saw the completion of New Haven Inner Harbor Maintenance Dredging Project to 35 feet. The Port of New Haven is the busiest port between New York and Boston, and the largest deep water port in Connecticut. It is the 51st largest port in the country and ranks fifth for moving domestic refined petroleum products, which include gasoline, diesel fuel and heating oil. The Port of New Haven also supplies Bradley International Airport with jet fuel via pipeline.
In 2015, the State of Connecticut created statewide port authority. The next step in improving the harbor is dreding to 40 feet.