NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Marianne Cruz of East Haven and her cousins are headed to the Big Apple.
“They are from Florida. They came to visit me and I’m about to show them New York,” Cruz said.
Right now, the train ride takes an hour and a half to two hours, but it could be faster.
“20 minutes earlier to New York and you know having a blast, that would be cool,” Cruz added.
The pressure is on to deliver.
Some $60 billion dollars nationwide will go to improving rail service. The money was authorized through the federal bipartisan infrastructure bill.
Officials vowed to prioritize Connecticut’s funding on faster train service.
Mayor Justin Elicker of New Haven said Union Station is vital and the “welcoming mat” to the city.
The Lamont administration has been pushing for faster train service. TIME FOR CT was launched back in June.
The goal: shave off 25 minutes from the New Haven to New York City commute by 2035.
There is also the Northeast Corridor Commission’s C35 plan to fix a backlog of deferred maintenance.
“Perhaps most importantly is being able to get there just a little bit faster,” said Governor Ned Lamont.
The recently signed bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act includes $60 billion for passenger rail and freight nationwide, $30 billion for the Northeast corridor, a portion of which is just for Amtrak — around $6 billion.
The new CEO of Amtrak said it is a guaranteed funding stream.
“We would have these big ambitious plans. We’d be limited to the year of funding available. So we could start a project, but we had no idea if we could ever finish the project,” said Stephen Gardner.
The state owns a portion of the track — a key partnership when investing in faster trains for a competitive workforce.
U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy said it is a game-changer.
“Being able to get from the station down to New York City in 20 minutes less than it takes today, will absolutely be a job and business recruitment boon,” Murphy said.
Competitive grants will also fund inter-city passenger rail.
Transportation leaders said the most immediate change you’ll see is on the Acela, with 10 minutes cut off the commute time to New York City by this summer.