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June 21, 2021

Lamont proposes $10B plan to revamp CT’s rail network

PHOTO | FILE IMAGE Metro-North railroad in New Haven.

Gov. Ned Lamont this morning unveiled an $8 billion to $10 billion plan to revamp and improve Connecticut’s rail network, changes he maintains could help save passengers up to 10 minutes of travel time by next year and up to 25 minutes by 2035.

The package, known as “Time for CT,” would rebuild elements of the state’s rail infrastructure, straightening track curves, replacing aging bridges and installing new signal systems. The plan would also introduce new rail cars for an improved customer experience and increase the resiliency of the New Haven Line, which links Connecticut commuters and tourists with New York City.

“Connecticut is home to the most used commuter rail line in the country, and it is a key component of our economic growth, supporting the ability of thousands of people every day to get to their jobs and earn a living,” Lamont said in a statement. “But our aging infrastructure is not only slowing our travels, it’s slowing our economic growth. Nobody wants to live and work in a place where they spend hours stuck in their daily commutes. Faster trains and faster highways mean more jobs. The actionable items we put in Time for CT will make these needed improvements a reality.”

According to a summary of projected improvements, by 2035, the new investments would decrease the travel time between New Haven and Bridgeport from 26 minutes to 20 minutes; between Bridgeport and Stamford from 34 minutes to 22 minutes; and between Stamford and New York City from 52 minutes to 45 minutes.

Elected officials, including U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said they will need the support of Connecticut and federal sources, in addition to operators such as Amtrak and Metro-North, to bring the plan to fruition.

“Faster and more reliable rail service is crucial to our state’s economic growth,” Blumenthal said. “This transformational plan is exactly what Connecticut and our nation needs right now. Congress must act now and commit to making funds available to speed train service on the New Haven line, moving it into the 21st century.”

Strengthening links between Connecticut and New York City has become a central priority for state policymakers in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, which prompted thousands of people to leave the city for the quieter Connecticut suburbs. With the increasing prevalence of remote work, some formerly city-based employees have opted to live further from the office, looking to Fairfield County in particular, given its proximity to Manhattan.

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