Governor Rell Announces $260 Million in Bonding for New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Rail Line

Jul 27th, 2010 | By | Category: Busway, High Speed Rail, New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Line, Transportation

Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell today announced that $260 million in state funding for a dramatic upgrade of the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield rail corridor is expected to gain approval when the state Bond Commission meets Aug. 11 in Hartford.

The ultimate goal is high-speed intercity rail service on the 62-mile line within five years. The $260 million in state funding would be matched against an application being filed for $220 million in federal funding. Connecticut is working jointly with Massachusetts and Vermont to expand service through the heart of New England.

“Just a few months ago, we were proud to host U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood for a tour of the tracks right next to us,” Governor Rell said during a news conference at the historic Wallingford train station, built in 1871. “We rode from New Haven to Hartford on an Amtrak conference car because we wanted Secretary LaHood to see the same thing we do – the promise and the potential of this rail line.

“For as long as I have been Governor, I have had two major goals: To keep and grow jobs in our state and to improve Connecticut’s transportation network,” the Governor said. “In the case of this project, the first goal blends seamlessly into the second, because our roads, our airports and our rail lines are the arteries that carry our economic lifeblood. Moving people and products ensures the health of our economy.

“After visiting us last April and hearing our plans, Secretary LaHood was impressed,” Governor Rell said. “The phrase he used was, ‘Connecticut has its act together.’ Well, he’s right – we do have our act together. And working with our regional partners and putting this money in place now shows Washington that we are serious about moving this project forward. It’s fair to say that high-speed rail is the most important transportation initiative since the creation of the interstate highway system more than 50 years ago. In the short term, this will improve service, provide better mobility and decrease traffic congestion. In the long term, travel times will decrease, jobs will be created and our environment and overall economy will benefit.”

It is expected that the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield line will:

• Reduce the number of vehicles on roads by approximately 4,000 cars each day
• Increase the connectivity of rail and bus systems at all train stations, including the proposed Hartford-New Britain Busway
• Foster better linkages between Bradley International Airport and the region
• Generate close to 4,000 jobs
• Create opportunities for transit-oriented development at rail stations along the line
• Save 1 billion gallons of fossil fuel annually
• Reduce carbon emissions by over 10,000 tons a year

“The improvements in this corridor will include modifications to existing stations, construction of new stations and improved rail and freight service – both in efficiency and frequency,” said Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Jeffrey A. Parker. “Multi-state collaboration among Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont continues to be the driving force behind competing for and receiving additional federal funding.”

The Governor thanked House Speaker Chris Donovan for his staunch advocacy of the project.

“The high speed rail project will remove one of the great impediments to economic growth in Connecticut – traffic congestion along the corridor. With high speed rail, our economic future improves exponentially and we can move forward with renewed confidence on a project that can create jobs and position Connecticut for sustained future growth,” House Speaker Christopher G. Donovan said. “I am grateful for the Governor’s leadership on this project. Approval by the Bond Commission of these funds tells the federal government that we are committed to moving a project with enormous economic ramifications for Connecticut and the Northeast forward.”

Earlier this year, Connecticut received $40 million in federal funding for the construction of double-tracking on a 10-mile stretch of the corridor between Newington and Berlin.

There will be a public meeting on the environmental aspects of the project on Thursday, July 29, at 6 p.m. at Union Station in Hartford. The draft Environmental Review Document can be found online at www.nhhsrail.com.

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