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Congressman Larson proposes nationwide infrastructure plan, proposal for Hartford tunnel project

HARTFORD —  On Tuesday afternoon, Congressman John Larson (D-Hartford) announced plans to introduce the ‘America Wins Act.’ The bill would inv...

HARTFORD --  On Tuesday afternoon, Congressman John Larson (D-Hartford) announced plans to introduce the 'America Wins Act.'

The bill would invest $1 trillion in infrastructure over the next 10 years. Among the projects it would fund is the Interstate 84 and Interstate 91 tunnel from Flatbush Avenue in Hartford to Roberts Street in East Hartford.

Larson said the construction would create lasting economic development in the Capitol Region and offer new business opportunities along the Connecticut River.

"Close to 55-60 percent of the traffic that flows over that interchange never stops in Hartford or East Hartford," said Larson.

The project would be entirely funded by a tax on carbon pollution, which Congressman Larson said would raise $1.8 trillion over a decade. He said that would fund not only the infrastructure, but also a tax break to offset increased costs passed along to consumers and financial assistance to those in carbon-intensive industries, like coal.

"Connecticut sorely needs some jobs and some revenue now," said Don Shubert with the Connecticut Construction Industries Association. "This is exactly what can help move Connecticut forward."

Larson said construction would create as many as 22 million jobs nationwide over a decade.

"We know that investing in our infrastructure is what's going to put America back to work," said Larson.

Larson said the legislation so far has support from some Democrats but not yet any Republicans.

Connecticut residents we spoke with had generally positive opinions of a tunnel.

"I think it's a good idea," said Jazmin Ellis. "It would help with traffic. I deal with that every day."

"Friends and I have been talking about burying I-84 for the better part of 20 years," said Hartford resident Ken Krayeske.

"They obviously have to do something to correct that area," said Peggy Ginden of Hebron. "What the answer is, I'm not exactly sure. I'm not positive it's a tunnel."

Congressman Larson said he plans to introduce the legislation in Washington this September.

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