Governor M. Jodi Rell announced the state is proceeding with its efforts to establish high-speed rail service between New Haven and Springfield by applying for a share of the $8 billion in stimulus funds available for high-speed rail projects.
“A viable commuter rail through the heart of our state and region is not only important for riders, but for the opportunities it brings to every community along the line. It is an important element for sustained economic development,” Governor Rell said today. “I am pleased Connecticut is taking the lead on this important regional project and applaud the strong partnership we have established with Governor Patrick and Amtrak.
“My administration is committed to easing the congestion on our highways by improving our mass transit system and this initial application for stimulus is significant step forward,” Governor Rell said.
Governor Rell and Massachusetts Governor Deval L. Patrick have been working together to expand commuter rail between the two major cities in the respective states. They wrote a letter in March to Amtrak President Joseph H. Boardman expressing their shared vision, outlining the benefits a reliable, high-speed service would bring to the region. State transportation officials from the two state and Amtrak officials have been meeting since March to move the project forward.
The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) is making the funding available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). The Governor said Connecticut’s share would be applied to the Connecticut Valley corridor between New Haven and Springfield. The state Department of Transportation filed a “pre-application” today for two pieces of the overall project:
· Double-tracking the 62-mile line between New Haven and Springfield to enable high-speed service. Installing the new track is expected to cost more than $300 million.
· Planning and design work for overall improvements, such as new signals, electrification, rehabilitation or replacement of bridges, and new high-speed rail equipment.
Investments in the New Haven-Springfield high-speed line bring significant travel time benefits to the region and will also support plans for commuter service through the corridor at 30-minute intervals. A formal application will be filed in the fall, according to Connecticut DOT Commissioner Joseph F. Marie.
For more information visit the state’s stimulus Web site at www.ct.gov and click on the CT Recovery link.