Connecticut will receive $121 million in federal high-speed rail funding for the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield rail project, putting the state within striking distance of its “near-term vision” for the project and allowing implementation — which appeared to be stagnating as late as winter 2008 — to continue. Connecticut now has over $440 million in federal and state money lined up for the $880 million plan to improve Amtrak service and introduce commuter rail between New Haven and Springfield, Mass.
ConnDOT has broken up the project into two stages, a “near-term vision” and a “long-term vision.” The $480 million near-term vision would double Amtrak service, add 21 commuter trains per day, increase the number of stations served by rail from 8 to 13 and allow for a 1.75% increase in freight volume. The long-term plan envisions electrifying the corridor to create a “seamless connection” with the Northeast Corridor, reduce travel times, and improve reliability.
This newest grant builds upon $40 million in federal high-speed rail funds received earlier this year and state bonding allocations of $26 million and $260 million. The funds awarded so far will be used to double-track the length of the 62-mile corridor and rebuild the existing stations along the right of way as well as improve signalization and grade crossing warning devices.
The high-speed rail grant was announced at a press conference in Meriden yesterday by Senator Christopher Dodd, Governor M. Jodi Rell, Reps. John Larson, Rosa DeLauro and Chris Murphy, as well as Connecticut House Speaker Chris Donovan and ConnDOT Commissioner Jeffrey Parker. USDOT is expected to officially announce the high-speed rail grants later this week.
Other Projects In the Region
Other high-speed rail grants in the region include $18 million in Syracuse, NY-area improvements for the Empire Corridor, which connects Buffalo and NYC.