Gov. Rell and CT legislative leaders stood behind the New Haven-Springfield rail line today, after the State Bond Commission voted to bond $260 million towards the project. The commitment of state funds, pushed by Gov. Rell, should bolster the state’s chances of winning $220 million from the second round of federal high-speed rail grants.
In a statement, TSTC applauded the governor, saying that “transit projects like this one mean jobs today and continued economic development in the future,” and congratulated her for bringing the long-studied project closer than ever to fruition. CT House Speaker Chris Donovan also celebrated the decision in a statement, saying that the commitment of state funds “sends a strong message to the federal government that we are serious about this project.”
The funds will be used to complete construction of a second track along the 62-mile line between New Haven and Springfield, Mass., and for station upgrades. When the project is complete, trains would initially run every half hour during peak periods, providing a new transportation option in the I-91 corridor. The improvements will also strengthen the state’s connections to the broader regional rail network. The total cost of the project is estimated at roughly $900 million.
Gov. Rell had also planned to request that the state bond another $226 million for new Metro-North cars, but withdrew the request due to budget concerns. Today’s bond commission meeting had been delayed by a week after lawmakers requested information on the state’s finances.