U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal will chair a field hearing on the recent power failure that badly hobbled Metro-North’s New Haven line last month.
The Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security subcommittee will meet in Bridgeport City Hall from 10 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. on Oct. 28. The panel is expected to hear testimony from ConEdison President Craig Ivey, MTA Metro-North Railroad President Howard Permut, John Hartwell of the Connecticut Rail Commuter Council, Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman, Otto Lynch from the American Society of Civil Engineers and Joseph McGee of the Business Council of Fairfield County. U.S. Senator Chris Murphy and U.S. Reps. Jim Himes and Elizabeth Esty will also testify.
The New Haven line experienced a partial shutdown from Sept. 25 until Oct. 6 due to a power failure at the Mount Vernon, N.Y. substation. The substation feeds electricity to the rail line.
Blumenthal called the disruption unacceptable and inexcusable; he wants the ConEdison, the New York utility that oversees the substation, be held accountable for the lack of adequate contingency plans.
“This hearing is an important first step in determining the cause of this latest failure, and in considering future measures and investments in our rail system,” Blumenthal said. “ConEd and others must be held accountable—including compensating commuters for the hardships they have endured, but we must also hold Congress accountable for making the public investments necessary for the long term viability and reliability of our transportation systems. Such investments have been woefully inadequate for far too long.”