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One-Hundred-Twenty Million Dollar Grant Allows Work On New Haven-To-Springfield Rail Project To Begin


October 01, 2012

MERIDEN In 2010, the federal government promised Connecticut $121 million for high-speed rail service between New Haven and Springfield, but the state didn't know when it would see the money until Monday.

"A lot of us having been waiting for this day," state Transportation Commissioner James Redeker said at a press conference in Meriden, which is along the train route.

The press conference served as a check signing a symbolic event to let people know that the money is now Connecticut's to use.

Local and state leaders and members of Connecticut's congressional delegation were in attendance. Each said they have high hopes for the project.

The $121 million in federal funding will be matched by $141.9 million in state funding, allowing Connecticut to move forward with the ambitious rail plan. Officials say the project will enhance rail service and improve railroad stations, and mean fewer cars on state highways.

Authorities say they expect the project to create 13,000 construction and related jobs.

Initially, when the enhanced intercity rail service begins in 2016, there will be17 round-trips between New Haven and Hartford each day with 13 trains providing continuing service to Springfield. Eventually, plans call for trains to operate every 30 minutes during peak periods and every 60 minutes during off-peak hours.

The first phase of construction, to begin this month, will include the installation of underground communication cables.

"Let's get people moving," Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said.

A release from Malloy's office said ridership is expected to increase once the service begins and, by 2030, to reach 1.26 million new trips annually.

To date, the federal government has given Connecticut $191 million for the project, and the state has contributed $280 million. To finish the project, more money $176 million is needed, said U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal. He said the total cost is expected to reach $647 million.

"I'm never confident about anything in Washington these days," Blumenthal said when asked if the congressional delegation could secure more federal funding for the project. But he said he was optimistic that the project will forward with the necessary funding because of the number of ways it benefits the state.

Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant. To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at http://www.courant.com/archives.
| Last update: September 25, 2012 |
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