February 7th, 2007

Agency May Rent Visibility

By Gary Libow
Hartford Courant

DOT Foresees Leasing Certain Naming Rights

What’s in a name? Plenty.

The state Department of Transportation sees gold in leasing the naming rights to Connecticut transit stations and other facilities to private corporations and organizations.

DOT is proposing selling naming rights to defray mass transit costs.

State Sen. Donald J. DeFronzo, D-New Britain, saying the proposal merits consideration, wonders how the public would react to “White Castle Bus Depots” or “Gillette Train Stations.”

The proposed legislation, referred Tuesday to the General Assembly’s transportation committee, will likely be aired at a Feb. 21 public hearing, said DeFronzo, who co-chairs the committee.

The law would take effect July 1. The transportation commissioner would decide how to lease naming rights.

“DOT thinks it can be a big revenue generator,” DeFronzo said. “They said they wanted us to take a look at it, and determine the feasibility and get the public’s reaction.”

DeFronzo is interested in gauging whatever success other states have had in leasing naming rights to train stations and bus depots.

“My initial reaction is to go slow with it,” DeFronzo said. “These are public facilities. Very often they are named after public officials, war heroes, veterans. ... I want to get a better read on what the public thinks.”

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