President Obama is in Florida today announcing $8 billion in funding for high speed rail projects in 31 states. Connecticut has been awarded $40 million to jump start a new commuter line between New Haven and Springfield, Massachusetts
The money will help pay for installing eleven miles of double tracks between Newington and New Britain. That would speed up travel along a rail line which currently runs both freight and passenger trains on a single track.
The plan for the commuter line includes stops at 13 towns with trains running every thirty minutes. There are also plans for a connection to Bradley International Airport. Governor Jodi Rell says new train stations would draw new businesses and even housing.
"Where people can commute from home to train relatively easily. So I see not just short term jobs, but long-term growth which is what we're looking for."
The rail line north of Springfield received $120 Million in federal funding to improve travel between St Albans, Vermont and Massachusetts. Right now there's only one train a day from Vermont to Connecticut. The plan is to cut travel time by about a half hour by improving bridges in Vermont and creating a more direct route through Massachusetts. The bigger goals of the federal funding include making communities more economically competitive and to promote energy efficiency.