Conn. vs. Fla. may be equal contest



With snowstorms seeming to arrive every few days, little room left for stacking 
the snow, road-salt supplies nearly exhausted, state and municipal snow-removal 
budgets in deficit, and the Connecticut General Assembly reconvening, many people in 
Connecticut feel that they have had enough of the state. 

It's little consolation to them that Connecticut may have the best snowplowing 
operation in the country, with the state's major roads almost always kept 
passable throughout even the heaviest snowstorms. For besides the extra snow, 
Connecticut's economy and standard of living are still declining, which may be 
the cause of most of the surliness here; the snow just makes people feel their 
resentments more keenly. 

As a result many of them look south enviously, especially to subtropical 
Florida, to which many Connecticut residents already have fled, either 
permanently or just for the winter. Indeed, when the University of Connecticut's 
basketball teams play colleges in Florida, the crowd often seems to favor the 

But while it may be harder to appreciate Connecticut after shoveling snow or 
falling on ice, Florida has its own climate disadvantages. In the late summer 
and  early fall Florida can be crossed by as many hurricanes as Connecticut suffers 
snowstorms in the winter, and the resulting property damage in Florida is far 
greater than that inflicted by snowstorms in Connecticut, just as 
weather-related electricity outages in Florida can last longer. 

Because of bad weather a few weeks ago it took three days and several flight 
reschedulings for a recently retired couple from Connecticut to escape the state 
by air for their new winter home in South Florida, one of those tightly 
regulated condominium complexes that forbid admission to anyone under 55. The 
couple had hardly begun breathing the state-income-tax-free air when a line of 
thunderstorms stalled overhead for 24 hours and dumped 14 inches of rain on 
them, flooding their new neighborhood, closing its roads, and incapacitating 
sewer lines and toilets for a couple of days. 

It wasn't a snowstorm; it was  worse. 

Not long after the couple got dried out and settled, some university researchers 
reported that alligators, which which infest South Florida, not only swim stealthily 
but also climb trees, in part for better surveillance of their prey. 

Told of the study, the new arrivals from Connecticut refused to be 
concerned. While they had not yet read their condo association's many rules, 
they figured that, in addition to excluding people younger than 55, there was 
probably one against alligators climbing trees on the property and eating the 

They shouldn't count on it. Annoying as Connecticut's snow has been, at least it 
also has gotten in the way of the state's own many predators, both those with 
four legs and those with two. There's never much crime in bad weather. 

* * * 

Two executives of the Metropolitan Transit Authority came to Hartford last week 
so Gov Dan Malloy could reprimand them in front of the television cameras about 
the MTA's mismanagement of the Metro-North Commuter Railroad, whose many recent 
disasters have impaired service from New Haven to Grand Central Station in New 
York. The MTA executives duly promised improvements soon. 

But while the governor got to look tough, he really didn't increase 
Connecticut's leverage with the MTA, a New York state agency paid by Connecticut 
to operate the state's rail lines into New York. To gain such leverage 
Connecticut needs a plan, just as Metro-North needs a plan to improve rail 

Connecticut's plan might include demanding representation on the MTA's board, 
the renegotiation of Connecticut's contract with the MTA, and a study of how 
Connecticut could take over the management of its rail lines into New York. 

Until Connecticut has a rail-service-improvement plan that goes beyond scolding 
MTA officials on television, the MTA may assume that it can take its time about 
improving service here. 

Chris Powell is managing editor of the Journal Inquirer in Manchester, Conn.

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