Grant eyed to connect routes

BEACON FALLS — Town officials are hoping a grant will pave the way to a better connection between Route 42 in Beacon Falls and Route 67 in Seymour.

Officials from both towns have had preliminary discussions about working together to get federal funding to build a road that would extend from Breault Road in Beacon Falls, run parallel to the railroad tracks, and connect to Route 67 near Franklin Road in Seymour.

During the Board of Selectman meeting on Monday, First Selectman Christopher Bielik said he met with Naugatuck Valley Council of Governments (NVCOG) Executive Director Rick Dunne and Seymour First Selectman Kurt Miller to discuss the project.

The towns would apply for funding for the project through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s annual Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) competitive grant program.

“There is a lot of economic benefit that could go along with this,” said Bielik about the project.

The NVCOG recommended this project move forward in the grant process during its monthly meeting, Bielik added.

Selectman Peter Betkoski said there is already a small dirt road that runs in the approximate place this proposed road would be built.

The NVCOG recommended officials in both towns begin reaching out to U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro and Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker to let them know that both towns support this project, according to Bielik.

“Supposedly there is a positive mood in [Washington,] D.C. for moving ahead on projects similar to this one,” Bielik said.

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the TIGER grant program, which started in 2009, funds transportation infrastructure projects that will have a significant impact on the nation, a metropolitan area, or a region. This year the grant will focus on projects that generate economic development and improve access to reliable, safe and affordable transportation for communities, the department stated.

Bielik said the grant would fund 80 percent of the road, with the municipalities picking up the other 20 percent. However, since the proposed road would connect two state roads, the towns would look to acquire state funds for the remaining 20 percent, he said.

A message left for Miller seeking comment was not returned as of this post.

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