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The Hartford Courant

New Report Shows State Residents Are Driving Less

ConnPIRG Suggests Shifting More Transportation Funding To Mass Transit
Don Stacom

ConnPIRG, long an advocate of mass transit, said the numbers should signal legislators that it's time to stop building and expanding highways.

"It's time for policymakers to recognize that the driving boom is over. We need to reconsider expensive highway expansions and focus on alternatives such as public transportation and biking, which people increasingly use to get around," ConnPIRG Education Fund Executive Director Abe Scarr said when releasing the report.

ConnPIRG's report contends that the trend away from driving isn't short term, particularly since the millennial generation is leading the change.

"Average driving miles for Americans aged 16 to 34 fell sharply by 23 percent between 2001 and 2009. This trend is matched by a longtime slide in the rates that youth obtain drivers' licenses. Whereas over 87 percent of 19-year-olds held drivers licenses in 1983, only 69 percent did in 2011. With Millennials the largest generation in America, their sharp decline in driving is the strongest indication of a fundamental shift," the report concludes.

ConnPIRG plans to present its data to legislators and as part of the state's new Transform CT long-term transportation planning process.

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