After a two-month delay, the Connecticut State Bond Commission on Friday released $26 million to be used for design work and the construction of a second track along a portion of the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield line. Initially planned for release in October, the item was withdrawn from the Bond Commission’s agenda for what appeared to be political reasons, and a subsequent December 11 meeting was canceled by Governor Rell.
The release of this funding sends a signal to the federal government that Connecticut is serious about implementing commuter and high-speed rail along the corridor, and should help ensure that Connecticut remains a viable candidate for the $8 billion of federal funding set aside for high-speed rail in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. Gov. Rell called the release of the funds a “crucial step forward for one of the most important transportation improvements we have made in decades.”
The release of the funding is a welcome development for a project that is viewed by many as integral to expanding transit, creating jobs, protecting the environment and promoting smarter land use decisions and affordable housing. According to ConnDOT, a decision on the federal funds will be made in late March or early April.