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Feds Release $121 Million For New Haven-Springfield Rail Project

State officials announced Monday the project — which will include a new station in North Haven — will bring or sustain 13,000 jobs, as well as a $365.6 million investment in the New Haven-Hartford-Spring Rail line.

The federal government has released $120.9 million for the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Rail program, a project that when combined with other state and federal funds will ultimately represent a $365.6 million project anticipated to bring and sustain 13,000 jobs in Connecticut.

“This is a win-win-win for Connecticut,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy told dozens of dignitaries and politicians who attended a Monday afternoon press conference at the Meriden rail station where he and others announced the funding.

The project will significantly improve rail service between Connecticut’s shoreline and Springfield, and will include the construction of a new railroad station in North Haven, as well as West Hartford, Newington and Enfield

“Investing in new mass transportation opportunities will undoubtedly improve congestion on our roadways, create new economic development opportunities and improve our residents’ overall quality of life,” Malloy said.

The long-anticipated project is part of an overall $647 million improvement of the rail line between New Haven and Springfield. And will ultimately be part of a larger, even more costly, program to improve rail service through the heavily traveled Northeast corridor, officials said.

The first phase of the project will be along the Meriden to Newington section of the rail line.

The project will significantly improve rail service between Connecticut’s shoreline and Springfield, including improvements to several stations along the way, including ones in Berlin, Meriden and Wallingford, officials announced.

Several members of Connecticut’s congressional delegation attended the announcement Monday afternoon, including Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Rep. Joseph Courtney, D-Second District, and U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Third District. Also attending were John D. Porcari, under secretary of the federal Department of Transportation and James P. Redeker, commissioner of Connecticut’s Department of Transportation.

“Once completed, there will be 17 round trip trains traveling between New Haven and Springfield each day,” Porcari said. “The improvements in Connecticut will simplify routes for travelers throughout the Northeast Corridor, while building on President Obama’s vision of making rail attractive and competitive in the region.”

Redeker said that the NHHS Rail Program “will increase the safety, frequency and speed of inter-city service along the 62-mile corridor and enhance regional rail connections.” He also said the number of trains will increase from the current 12 per day today to 34 by 2016.  Trains will reach speeds of up to 110 mph and travel times will be reduced significantly, making rail travel far more attractive and competitive in the corridor.

He said that the first phase of construction — the installation of underground communication cable — would begin later this month.  By the end of 2016, with the funds that are now in place, the entire corridor between Hartford and New Haven will be double-tracked.

Speakers at the event lauded each other, and Malloy, for their efforts to get the grant money approved.

“It represents the culmination of years of hard work,” Malloy said.

Monday’s ceremony in Meriden was to mark the second release of Federal Railroad Administration funds in the amount of $121 million. This is the second such grant from the FRA, which the state will match with $142 million.

Norm Brody October 02, 2012 at 11:37 AM
Does anyone know if this will connect to Bradley Airport? I've seen no mention in anything I've read.
Richard Poulton October 02, 2012 at 12:01 PM
The federal rail system is about as well run as the post office. Both on the verge of bankruptcy, but continually sustained by Congress. What a waste of tax payer money. Mr. Brody is correct in asking about Bradley. NO, there will be no spur or the like to Bradley. Look at what NY did with JFK, with the over head tram service into and out of the airport. That I would use. And don't be fooled by the phrase "high-speed" service. There will be 10 stations between Springfield & New Haven. How fast do you think the train can go with some stops about 10 miles apart. Follow the money. And sustain 13,000 jobs in CT. Who comes up with these numbers anyway?
Flowers October 02, 2012 at 12:12 PM
The Pols are all high five ing over this project but I don't see it doing anything useful for very many locals other than create temporary construction jobs. This service has existed for years and no one used it. Now it will be newer, faster and still not serve any high rider demand.
Richard Poulton October 02, 2012 at 12:21 PM
As for creating jobs, remember we, this country, do not buy US made passenger trains. Mero-North's new fleet came from Japan. Wait, the US will buy any new trains from China. Way to Go.
Lise Cavallaro October 02, 2012 at 12:59 PM
I was just thinking the same thing..what does this do for East Haven????
SolarPete October 02, 2012 at 01:26 PM
Obama adminastration buying votes from Ct so now u all will say horrha for Obama and vote him back into office
Laura I. Maniglia October 02, 2012 at 02:31 PM
While this is a step in the right direction, I'd like to see more attention to the local stations, particularly ours in Branford, connecting to Metro North. Let's cut down on auto use by using public transportation. Currently, the last train on a weekday into New Haven leaves at 9:45 am. How is that reasonable? Certainly transit between Shoreline towns would increase if the SLE were more convenient. When does construction on side 2 of the station begin?
Richard Poulton October 02, 2012 at 03:23 PM
State is now reporting a 20 plus million hole in budget. But we have 174.7 million set aside for this white elephant. Take the 20 million we owe to ourselves from that 174.7 railroad money, pay off the debt, save the 147.7 million in the rainy day fund. But no, we must spend and spend and spend somemore.
Alana Joli Abbott October 02, 2012 at 06:15 PM
Laura, I agree -- and I wish that more commuters (or local residents) would use the train to support those extra trips! I remember a few years ago when they had to cut train runs on the weekends, because there just wasn't the local support. I very much hope that any improvements help convince users to get on board with local transit -- and certainly, the continuing hike in gas prices makes taking the train a more appealing option.
rr October 02, 2012 at 10:11 PM
hmmm...New haven to Hartford to Springfield...seems to me it's just a convenient , inexpensive way for drug dealers to convene....
BP October 03, 2012 at 08:42 AM
The government could care less about passengers. This is a secret money funnel back to the private railroads who got these politicians into office to start with. All the jobs are overseas and the private railroads need a path made for the crew-less GPS trains that will draft faster on our nickel. Here we pay for the signals the private railroads paid for, they steal the rail when we needlessly put in heavier rail for the light passenger trains, send their track maintenance people home since they aren't needed ---plus no real estate taxes.
Richard Poulton October 03, 2012 at 02:54 PM
BP, what "private railroads" are you referring too? Amtrak is federal owned. Metro-North is Ct owned. Just curious thats all.
Thomas Nimmo October 03, 2012 at 05:55 PM
Norm, every train stopping at Windsor Locks will be met by an airport shuttle bus . that will make the 10 minute drive to/from the airport. The state is still considering a direct connection by commuter rail or light rail from Hartford, but either would still be more than a decade off.
Norm Brody October 03, 2012 at 07:05 PM
@ Thomas: Thanks- this is helpful and a positve step.
Thomas Nimmo October 04, 2012 at 02:00 PM
Richard, a few of the trains will be Express, stopping only in New Haven, Hartford and Springfield. With top speeds at this point expected to reach 110mph, these trains will make the journey is just about an hour. Anyone who has sat around on I91, I84 or I95 knows we have a traffic problem in Connecticut. Every traffic jam decreases Connecticut's economic competitiveness because it wastes the time of both the people and goods who sit in them. While we could expand I-91 instead of this rail project, that would cost much much more. Frequent, fast, reliable and affordable rail transit across Connecticut will take both cars and trucks off our roads and provide alternate means of transportation for those travelling long distances to NYC, Boston or beyond and will allow commuters into Hartford, Springfield and New Haven to lessen congestion by using transit.

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