Gov. M. Jodi Rell today announced that more than $226 million to purchase an additional 80 commuter rail cars for Metro-North’s New Haven Line is expected to gain approval when the state Bond Commission meets August 11. Three hundred of the M-8 rail cars are already on order and the first of the cars are currently undergoing extensive testing.
The funding – a total of $226,320,000 – will allow the purchase of 80 additional cars, provide the spare parts and special tools needed to maintain the entire fleet of 380 cars, and pay for testing and administrative costs and the installation of security cameras on board all the cars.
“Connecticut commuters know that their patience is finally paying off,” Gov. Rell said. “The first of the new M-8s are arriving and going through their acceptance testing now – and dozens of new cars are coming behind them. Soon these sleek, comfortable cars will be in service on our rails, replacing cars that – after many years of daily service in every kind of weather imaginable – were clearly on their last legs.
“These new cars represent one of the most important investments Connecticut has made in its transportation system in decades,” the governor said. “Filling out the fleet to 380 cars means we will have plenty of cars for Metro-North as well as equipment to serve Shore Line East – and enough cars for service expansions in the years to come. I am tremendously pleased that we are completing this critical element of my 2005 transportation initiative.”
Since taking office, Gov. Rell has focused on improving Connecticut’s transportation system, proposing in 2005 the state’s largest investment in the state’s highways, airports and bus and commuter rail systems in decades. A key element of the initiative was the purchase of new rail cars for Metro-North.
In addition, the state has added hundreds of new commuter buses to its fleet, made improvements to roads and highways, upgraded dozens of bridges and partnered with Amtrak, the federal government and neighboring states to begin work on a high-speed commuter rail line linking New Haven, Hartford and Springfield, Massachusetts – a line that will eventually extend to Vermont and Montreal.
These improvements have not only enhanced the transportation system but are also key elements of the Governor’s economic development plan, since the efficient movement of people and products is an essential ingredient in keeping and growing jobs.