Mark Pazniokas | The CT Mirror

BOSTON — The federal government this week pledged nearly $1 billion to help finance the expansion of the Massachussets Bay Area Transportation Authority's (MBTA) Green Line from Cambridge into Somerville and Medford, a major boost for the long-promised transit project, The Boston Globe reported.It was a topic to avoid on the campaign trail, a $567 million punch line for much of his first term — “the busway to nowhere.” But now that he is re-elected and it’s nearing completion, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy is embracing the rebranded “CTfastrak.”

On a tour by bus Tuesday over the 9.4-mile off-road “guideway” from Hartford to New Britain, a relaxed Malloy said he thinks he and others associated with bringing bus rapid transit to Connecticut will have the last laugh.

“This would have been an easy thing for me to kill,” Malloy said of the long-gestating project, which he green-lighted five months after taking office. “But as I understood the project, I became firmly convinced that this was the way to go and the project to build – and that on a long-term basis, this would be a winner.”

Planning for the project originated under Gov. John G. Rowland, who as a radio talk-show host would ridicule it as “the magic bus,” a $60-million-a-mile ribbon of asphalt and concrete. Now, Rowland is off the air and facing a certain return to prison next month after a political corruption conviction.

On the tour, Michael Sanders of the Department of Transportation played guide, recounting in commentary over a PA system how the busway was the cheapest of three options considered to alleviate rush-hour traffic on I-84 west of Hartford. It was half the cost of rail and one-fifth the cost of widening the highway, if obtaining a wider right-of-way were even politically feasible. Read more