With the nation’s economy still sluggish and calls for budgets to get tighter in Washington and in Hartford, some in Connecticut’s Congressional delegation insist that the right answer is to spend more–especially on roads, bridges, railways and other projects in the Hartford area and throughout the state.
Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal pointed to last month’s Metro-North Commuter Railroad derailment in Bridgeport as an example of the state’s infrastructure needs. He said federal investigators have found that parts of the track were loose and in disrepair, which might have led to the crash that injured 76 people and caused an estimated $18 million in damages.
“What we see is the cost of failing to act,” Blumenthal said. “I believe that it’s very likely that the final report of the [National Transportation Safety Board] will show that that accident could’ve been prevented by more investment.”
Amtrak says track improvements will make the ride to the Green Mountain State that much faster. Some day perhaps the train will again make the trip all the way to Montreal:
“The Vermonter project to upgrade the New England Central Railroad main line is a great example of a very successful public-private partnership, helping both rail passenger and freight services,” said Raymond Goss, Senior, Vice President, New England Central Railroad. “This project involved the Vermont Agency of Transportation, the Federal Railroad Administration and the Railroad. We are happy to be part of this partnership.”
Web Correspondent Jenny Wilson climbed aboard the commuter train yesterday with Fairfield County residents struggling to get in and out of Manhattan. Service from New Haven resumes today. It’s still a free ride in and out of the city.
On Thursday, the first day MetroNorth trains ran again after Hurricane Sandy, Darien resident Dan Bevill chose to drive into New York for the second day in a row rather than taking the train. “I wasn’t sure how crowded it would be,” Bevill said. “I thought that everyone would be piling onto the train and the traffic wouldn’t be so bad.”
Turns out he wasn’t the only one who thought that way: His commute into the city took three hours, while MetroNorth passengers were treated to light traffic and smooth commutes. Trains were only running from Stamford, so Maureen Presutto of Fairfield had to make slight adjustments to her commute, but she said she arrived at work by 9, just like always. Continue reading
Chris Keating is down in Greenwich preparing a story on MetroNorth and how commuters are going to get into New York.
With a potentially once-in-a-lifetime hurricane approaching, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy announced Sunday night that the state’s court system will be closed down Monday.
The sprawling court system stretches into every region of the state, handling everything from divorce cases to arraignments on Monday mornings for those arrested over the weekend who have not yet made bail. They will now have to spend at least another day in jail. Continue reading
Hurricane Sandy has affected political campaigns around the country as the Category 1 storm is preparing to barrel into New Jersey. Continue reading
Amtrak is hustling to get the word out, perhaps because it sees President Romney down the tracks. Look at some of the numbers for passenger rail:
– Northeast Corridor (NEC) The NEC between Washington and Boston had a 4.8 percent increase in ridership to its best year ever with more than 11.4 million passengers. Specifically, ridership on the Northeast Regional service is up 6.6 percent to a new record of more than 8.0 million and the high-speed Acela Express is up 0.5 percent to its second-best year ever to nearly 3.4 million.
– Northeast Ridership on the Keystone Service (New York – Harrisburg) is up 5.8 percent to a new record of more than 1.4 million. Other ridership record setting routes include: Downeaster (Boston – Portland) up 4.3 percent to more than 541,000; Adirondack (New York – Montreal) up 5.3 percent to nearly 132,000; and Ethan Allen (New York – Rutland, Vt.) up 10 percent to more than 54,000. Routes with notable percentage growth increases include Vermonter (Washington – St. Albans, Vt.) up 5.5 percent to more than 82,000, Empire Service (New York – Albany) up 3.8 percent to more than 1.06 million and Pennsylvanian (New York – Pittsburgh) up 2.2 percent to more than 212,000.
Just minutes after Governor Malloy signed the check securing $121 million in federal funding for a New Haven-Hartford-Springfield high speed rail service, Sen. Richard Blumenthal was already calling for another $227 million, emphasizing that the grant announced today is just a “down payment” and continued commitment to the project is crucial to its success:
Will the results of November’s elections dictate the future of this project, and those like it nationwide? “My hope is that there will be bipartisan support for transforming transportation in this country,” Blumenthal told Capitol Watch, saying that “there’s nothing partisan” about it. But according to Representative John Larson (CT-1), transportation and infrastructure “has become a partisan issue for the first time in 30 years.” An issue, he hopes, that voters recognize come Election Day:
The $121 million for the New Haven-Springfield high-speed rail program was promised by the federal government in 2010, but Connecticut didn’t know when it would see the money until Monday.
“A lot of us having been waiting for this day,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker at a press conference in Meriden, a city that will benefit from the project.
Local and state leaders, along with Connecticut’s congressional delegation, have high hopes for the high-speed rail project. The federal funding will be matched by $141.9 million in state funding, allowing the state to move forward with an ambitious project that officials say will enhance rail service and improve railroad stations. Officials say the project will result in less cars travelling on state highways, and they hope the project creates jobs. Continue reading