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November 9, 2021

State plans to expand Waterbury Metro-North branch

HBJ File Photo A Metro-North Railroad train in New Haven.

State officials plan to add a second track to the Waterbury branch of the Metro-North Railroad in the coming months, a build-out expected to increase the number of weekday trains on the line from 15 to 22.

Gov. Ned Lamont announced the project Monday during a visit to the Metro-North train station in Ansonia, one of the communities served by the Waterbury branch, together with Naugatuck, Beacon Falls, Seymour, Derby and Waterbury itself.

“I have been laser-focused on improving rail and transportation throughout the state since I came into office, and the Waterbury branch is a prime example of infrastructure in the state that needs significant upgrades,” Lamont said. “We are building a transportation system that will lead to more jobs, economic growth and more money in people’s pockets.”

The expansion will be paid for with $1.23 million in state funds and a matching amount of federal dollars.

The announcement of the rail project came three days after Congress passed a $1.2 trillion infrastructure package backed by President Joe Biden. Both Lamont and state Transportation Commissioner Joseph Giulietti praised the legislation, which they said will be used to support new roads, bridges, rail networks and public transportation systems, in addition to the Lamont administration’s “Time for CT” initiative, which aims to deliver faster and more frequent commuter train service between Connecticut and New York.

“The passage of the federal infrastructure bill is a win for Connecticut’s residents and workers,” Giulietti said. “Safety, health and environmental equity are our top priorities. Thanks to the bold leadership and hard work of Connecticut’s congressional delegation we have an infrastructure investment that will benefit future generations. [The Connecticut Department of Transportation] is ready to get to work delivering these resources to create jobs and enhance the quality of life in all of our communities.”

Connecticut is expected to receive $5.38 billion over five years from the infrastructure package, a $1.63 billion increase over the most recent federal infrastructure spending bill, which was passed in 2015.

According to state officials, the money will be used to enhance public transportation, relieve congestion on major highways, repair aging bridges, reduce transportation-related carbon emissions and build more electric vehicle charging stations. Connecticut is also expected to receive a minimum of $100 million to help provide broadband internet access across the state, including to low-income families, who will be eligible for discounts for the service.

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