Commuters to get state sponsored traffic information

Unbelievable waste of cash. I just turned on WVIT – the local NBC affiliate – and they reported Connecticut was planning to introduce the state-wide 511 system that I mentioned back in February. It appears that the state government – at a cost of $3 million – thinks that they can provide better traffic information then all of the radio stations, TV stations and Internet services combined.

The talking head on tube indicated that the system would be rolled out in 2010, but reminded watchers that they can already get traffic information for free from WVIT. You can even have live video sent to your phone by the station; they have more than 100 cameras to choose from.

Of course, the Connecticut DMV Web site promotes the new waste of tax dollars as mostly free – especially since the federal government is funding it.

511 is not yet available in the Nutmeg State, but you can use it in other states.
The master plan was to have a national system in which individuals throughout the country could simply dial 511 on their cell or landline phones and access this information. However, like many plans, this one has been slow to unfold, and much of the country is still waiting to have the service activated in their state.

The service is mostly free, and the information you receive by calling 511 is much more detailed than you’d get from a local television or radio traffic report. Some areas offer additional services, such as allowing you to check airport conditions.

Motorists can test out the service when traveling through states that deploy it. After dialing 511, just follow the voice instructions to access the information you’re seeking. Some states also have Web sites which allow you to review the information online.

This type of spending must stop.

Not only does this program duplicate a service that is already provided by every source imaginable – including radio stations, TV stations, Google and more – it’s being funded by the federal government. Here’s a hint folks, a 511 traffic information system is not listed as one of the responsibilities of the federal government in the U.S. Constitution.

The DMV site also states that the service will be mostly free. Mostly free? Where do they think the money is coming from? Taxpayers fund this crap and nobody seems to care.

Of course, they are trying to justify the cost by stating that the information provided will be much more detailed than what we would get from local traffic reports “on the eight’s” each morning. Hogwash, I can’t find any services provided by 511 that are not already provided by the private sector.

Each morning you can watch Rachel Lutzker provide the actual speed of the traffic around Hartford. If the TV is not on in the morning, you can always go to the Internet.

Or check out Google Maps on your Blackberry or other cellular phone.

The government can not and will not be able to provide a better service.

Where is the money going here? Who’s benefiting from this program? Follow the money.

Posted in

Steve McGough

Steve's a part-time conservative blogger. Steve grew up in Connecticut and has lived in Washington, D.C. and the Bahamas. He resides in Connecticut, where he’s comfortable six months of the year.


  1. Terry on August 19, 2008 at 4:34 am

    The democrats and repubicans (sic) at the Capital know best how to waste our money!

    We need a big flush up there on Capital Avenue.  Too bad people in this state keep sending the same old tax and spenders back, time after time after time.

    And don't count on the Repubicans (sic) to help either.  Despite the fact that more than 60% of registered voters are unaffiliated,  The CT Repubican (sic) Party keeps giving us liberals like Lowell Weicker!  The guy who gave us the INCOME TAX!

    Now we have Repubican (sic) M. Jodi Rell aka. The Nanny, running the nanny state.

    Conservatives are disenfranchised in this state.  We don't have a Conservative Party and the Repubicans (sic) don't support conservatives.

  2. Terry on August 19, 2008 at 4:47 am

    With regard to your comment,  "…a 511 traffic information system is not listed as one of the responsibilities of the federal government in the U.S. Constitution."  I submit the following:

    Although the license plates on most of the cars in this state display the motto, "Constitution State" the politicians wouldn't know the Constitution if it bit them in the rear.

    I think I will call my legislator, Repubican (sic) Rich Ferrari and propose that we move the state slogan from the license plates to the tread portion of car tires.  That way we will be true to the way that the CT government treats the Constitution.

  3. Jay on August 19, 2008 at 4:21 pm

    Yes!  I love the post from Terry about moving the license plate to the tire treads.  You are absolutely correct.  The state and federal constitution are meaningless to these people.  Consider the "Sanctuary CIty" that Hartford is trying to become, spitting in the face of federal law. 

    Steve — You forgot to mention that WTIC-1080 gives traffic reports EVERY 10 MINUTES!  Even if this 511 system were truly free (which we know it is not) it would still be a waste of state employees time and resources getting it started and running it.  These people could be put to use in other better ways.

    Also, have you noticed recently that Jodi Rell has been on TV with these public service announcements telling people how to use the 911 service?  WHO DOESN'T KNOW HOW TO USE 911?  Do we need the states highest official spending time telling people how to do it?  Her big contribution was to be sure to tell them where you are — Duh!  Terry's right.  Jodi Rell has bumped Fran Drescher from the title of The Nanny.  It makes me sick to think that she calls herself a Republican.   Even if the public service announcements are free from advertising charges (which I'm not sure if that is the case or not) they still cost time and money to produce.  Doesn't Jodi Rell have better things to do?  Yet another waste of money.  Maybe Jodi Rell can spend some time tackling the billboard problem in Hartford.  I mean, that's surely the biggest problem facing Hartford right now, right?

    So many things to get your blood boiling, and just one little post…

    Jay —

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