HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Gov. Ned Lamont (D-Conn.) and transportation leaders announced Monday that $2 billion in federal funding will go toward nearly a dozen rail projects across Connecticut.
This is the largest investment ever from the federal government into Connecticut’s rail lines and infrastructure, but the announcement comes on the heels of a recent fare hike and cuts to train service.
The $2 billion in grant money will go toward ten projects, including bridge work, track improvements, power systems and signal substation upgrades, selected by the Federal Railroad Administration.
The bulk of the $2 billion — $826 million — will go toward replacing the nearly 120-year-old Connecticut River Bridge between Old Saybrook and Old Lyme with a moveable bridge, which is expected to have a lifespan of 150 years.
- $826 million for the Connecticut River Bridge Replacement Project
- $465 million for the WALK Bridge Replacement Project
- $245 million for the Devon Bridge Replacement Project
- $122 million for the New Haven Line Power Improvement Program
- $119 million for Devon Bridge Interim Repairs
- $104 million for the Hartford Line Rail Program Double Track Phase 3B Project
- $71 million for the New Haven Line Track Improvement and Mobility Enhancement Part 1 and 3
- $23 million for the Saugatuck River Bridge Replacement
- $15 million for the New Haven Line Network Infrastructure Upgrade Project
- $4 million for the New Haven to Providence Capacity Planning Study
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro said the funding announcement comes amid steep cuts for Amtrak.
“For the northeast corridor, in the bill there is a 67% decrease in funding, that is unacceptable,” DeLauro said.
On Nov. 1, a fare hike kickedin for MetroNorth riders along with cuts to service, including Shoreline East.
“People rely on transportation for their economic security, for themselves and for their families, we need to think these things through for these families,” DeLauro said.
The rail projects are welcome news for MetroNorth locomotive engineers like Chris.
“Tracks need to be maintained, equipment needs to be maintained, it’s an old system,” he told News 8. “The people who built it were just brilliant without computers, but it’s time. We have to honor their work.”
The funding is part of President Joe Biden’s bipartisan infrastructure bill to modernize the northeast corridor and address a backlog of major rail projects.
Salvatore Leone from Boston relies on Amtrak to visit his daughter and grandchildren.
“It’s a safer way of travel,” Leone said. “I do not like driving anymore. Anything to get people off the roads and into public transportation is only going to help everybody out anyways.”
The rail projects are expected to begin in 2024.