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Source : Unsplash
November 3, 2022
Author : Patty Allen
Trains have long been essential to American life. They connect heavily used ports to supply chains across the country. Thousands of commuters every day across country travel on them.
Yet the condition of the country's rail system has often fallen short. Things are about to change for the people of Connecticut.
The state is set to invest $12.7 billion over the next five years to enhance its commuter train infrastructure.
State Sen. Will Haskell (D-Westport) spoke at a news conference at the Westport Train Station about the issues that Metro-North train riders face each year. "From the moment I was elected, I've been hyper-focused on Connecticut's trains," Haskell said.
Metro-North Railroad is the country's busiest commuter rail route. Every year, around 43 million passengers travel across this route.
The newly released Connecticut Rail Plan, a five-year report, lists many changes needed to improve the rail system, such as repairing train bridges and track infrastructure to reduce commute times.
Department of Transportation Senior Advisor Carlo Leone explained, “This Connecticut rail plan is a mandated plan that we have to submit to the U.S. Department of Transportation, and it's our five-year mapping plan to bring us into the future."
The plan includes the following:
The funds for the various projects come from multiple sources, including federal and state funding. Of $12.7 billion, the New Haven line receives $8.7 billion, the Danbury line receives $12.5 million, Waterbury receives $120 million, and Hartford receives $921 million, with "many more millions of dollars throughout the corridor."
According to a DOT statement, the state rail plan guarantees Connecticut conforms with the federal Passenger Rail Investment and Improvement Act of 2008. Work on the revised plan began in 2021, and multiple public meetings were held over the last year.
The master plan also involves collaboration with agencies outside of the state, including the state of New York and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which administers Metro-North.
When the projects are completed, they can have a far-reaching impact on the lives of the passengers. Commuting time on Metro-North from New Haven to New York might be reduced by 25 minutes by 2035.
"One of the most encouraging points of focus in the Rail Plan is to improve both the frequency and the speed of commuter trains," explained Senate Majority Leader Bob Duff. “More trains on the schedule provide commuters with more flexibility and enhance their ability to plan out the best schedule. When those trains run faster, they'll spend less time commuting and more time at work, or even better, with their families."
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