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It comes up every time we talk about transportation and infrastructure - a Springfield to New Haven communter line. Is it possible? The proposed line would connect three cities along the I-91 corrider - and link together suburban communities along the route. It's seen by advocates as a vital step toward spurring business, unclogging the highways, and creating a more sustainable region. Today, Where We Live, we'll dig into rail proposal, myth and reality.
Join the conversation! Is the commuter rail a "transformative" project? Does it make the right kind of investment in transportation?
DOT Commissioner says Amtrack cooperation is key
Governor Rell says plans for a Springfield to New Haven commuter rail line are not ready to take advantage of federal stimulus money, but state transportation officials hope a partnership with Amtrak will fast-track the project.
Amtrak already runs a route from New Haven to Hartford, but it takes about 55 minutes for the 40 mile trip. It owns the track where a new commuter line would run. State Transportation Commissioner Joseph Marie is hoping Amtrak's support within the Obama administration will work to Connecticut's advantage.
"We think that Amtrak is positioned well to argue their case with us to make the investment necessary on this important corridor"
Marie says he met with Amtrak officials last week to discuss the line. They plan to meet again in Washington later this month.
"So what we're trying to do now is to create some momentum now around making a reinvestment so that we can get a really good, quick commute."
Back in the 1990s, Amtrak actually dismantled some of the railways that will be necessary by converting double-track rail beds and and bridges down to a single track.
Rep. David McCluskey of West Hartford says Governor Rell is wrong when she says this commuter line isn't a shovel ready project. He says some of the necessary work, like the restoration of double rail beds, could start immediately with the federal influx of cash.
"Amtrak also has stimulus in the package, so Amtrak, working with the state of Connecticut could put in stimulus money to start moving on this project."
A legislative study last year estimated it will cost $291 million to get the Springfield to New Haven commuter line up and running.
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