December 10, 2018
Newsmakers

Terri Slack | Vice President and Senior Project Manager, CDM Smith

Terri Slack

The issue of Connecticut's deteriorating highways and bridges and the possibility of installing tolls were front and center during this year's gubernatorial election. It's also an issue Terri Slack knows a thing or two about.

Slack is a national tolling expert who recently joined engineering and construction firm CDM Smith in Hartford as vice president and senior project manager. Her firm made headlines recently publishing a study that concluded Connecticut could reap as much as $1 billion in annual revenues if it adopted statewide highways tolls.

She previously worked as a program manager for Jacobs Engineering, which served as a general toll consultant for Washington state's Department of Transportation, among other jobs.

After spending much of her career focused on highway issues, Slack says transportation is the heart of any government's economic engine.

You have worked on highway issues (including tolling) in several states. How does the situation in Connecticut compare with other states where you've worked?

One thing we all learned, and which I believe Connecticut is experiencing, is implementing a toll program is complex.

Whether tolling is in the startup phase as in Connecticut, or in a mature phase, such as Pennsylvania, Illinois, etc., every agency addresses similar issues.

Mature agencies are working to become more efficient by taking advantage of innovative technology — e.g. gated systems have been replaced with open road toll systems. Whether agencies are wrestling with policy issues or operational issues, I have found one thing in common: Everyone wants to do good for the toll customer.

How can highway infrastructure policy affect businesses in Connecticut?

Transportation and highway infrastructure policies and funding affect business in Connecticut in many ways.

The health of our economy depends on the system's ability to move people and goods efficiently and cost effectively. If an employee is stuck in traffic, day in and day out, making them late to work, that affects their job performance, thus threatening their employment status.

If a business is located where traffic, especially accident-inducing traffic, can make it too difficult to reach, that business suffers.

The more difficult our transportation system makes it for people to travel safely and efficiently, and deliver the state's commerce, the more Connecticut's economy suffers.

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