“Spy vs. Spy” is a nearly 50-year-old cartoon that originated in MAD Magazine depicting two spies – one garbed all in white, the other all in black – who are constantly at odds with no clear victor. Sometimes one wins, sometimes the other wins.
I was reminded of those characters today while reading a catch-all Department of Transportation bill that was passed this afternoon by the House of Representatives and is on its way to the Senate for final action before the session ends Wednesday at midnight.
Tucked inside the legislation is language freeing the DOT to sell or use “in any manner that is not transportation compatible” 890 acres the state purchased decades ago to replace the old Route 7 connecting Norwalk to Danbury with an expressway.
The project never got off of the ground and the state has instead begun widening sections of Route 7. But technically the expressway or Super 7 is still possible – and I use that term very loosely – since the state still owns all that land.
This leads me to Sens. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton and Bob Duff, D-Norwalk, both influential members of the legislature’s Transportation Committee. Boucher wants to put the final nail in the expressway’s coffin. Duff every year promises to fight to make Super 7 a reality. Inevitably one of them manages to sneak a piece of legislation before the General Assembly to accomplish their goal and the other scrambles in the final few days of the session to kill the proposal.
A few years ago Duff was able to insert language into another massive transportation bill requiring the DOT study the completion of Route 7. Boucher, despite her minority party status, had the clout to defeat the effort.
Earlier this year Boucher proposed a bill authorizing the DOT to sell off the Route 7 land. That effort resulted in the language I mentioned above freeing the DOT – but not instructing the agency – to put the property on the market.
Boucher told me today she thought it was a compromise. But as expected, Duff said he plans to try and eliminate that section of the bill when it reaches the Senate before the session ends at midnight on Wednesday.
And repeat next session. Spy vs. Spy.