CTfastrak may expand routes to UConn in Storrs

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STORRS  -- Next stop, UConn.

The state is looking into expanding the CTfastrak bus service east to Storrs and that could happen soon.

Transit planners unveiled six new possible route maps east of the Connecticut River with three of them from Hartford to the UConn campus. The new service would start late in the summer.

Two options for CTfastrak "East" would build on existing Hartford-Tolland service along I-84, expanding it from Route 195 to the university. The other option is an all-new route from I-84 to I-384 to Route 44.

The budget does not include money for expansion so the Department of Transportation will look to legislators for help. Officials have confirmed that if proper funding is not available until 2017, the project would need to be put on hold.

The DOT says this new service would cost far less than the estimated $567 million it took to construct the New Britain to Hartford bus only highway because most of these new routes will use existing state roads, including the I-84 HOV lanes.

The only expenses in the first year would be drivers, buses, fuel and the hiring of contractors, if needed.

The new routes that would begin in the summer will have less amenities and be limited to off-peak hours unless contractor buses are used. The new routes will be determined in the spring.

The DOT will visit UConn through March to speak with students and staff about schedules and CTfastrak services they would consider using beginning this summer.

Other towns and communities east of the river, including South Windsor and Vernon, are also interested in adding the service in future.