Connecticut could benefit from the United States’ recently announced national high-speed rail plan — and the $8 billion in stimulus money planned as a “down payment” on the plan. Last Friday, CT House Speaker Chris Donovan said he would convene a working group of Connecticut and Massachusetts stakeholders aimed at winning high-speed rail funds for the New Haven-Springfield rail project.
The working group will help shape Connecticut’s application for stimulus funds, which will be awarded on a competitive basis; applications for individual projects are due in August. The group will also investigate how to speed up the project’s environmental review, which is scheduled for completion by early 2010. Donovan also asked that ConnDOT Commissioner Joe Marie join the working group, and called on Gov. Rell to release $30 million from the state Bond Commission for planning and design for the New Haven-Springfield plan.
The day before Donovan’s announcement, Tri-State called on Connecticut officials to aggressively pursue high-speed rail funds for the New Haven-Springfield project. At full buildout, the plan would add an additional track to Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, one of 11 corridors eligible to receive high-speed rail funds.
At a Vision Long Island meeting today, New York Smart Growth Cabinet Chair Timothy Gilchrist called competition for high-speed rail funds “stiff,” given the strength of projects in places like California and the Midwest. That’s all the more reason for Connecticut to make a concerted effort for funding.
Image: Via Federal Rail Administration.