New transportation funding bill to improve your commute

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– Federal lawmakers are celebrating passing a new transportation bill. The new bill allows money made here in northeast to stay here. And it could be good for your commute.

It could be very good, because it means more money for improvements and safety upgrades to the train tracks around here.

Amtrak, the federal passenger train service, runs all over the country. But it only has the ridership it needs to make money here in northeast. The way it’s always worked is the money Amtrak makes here goes to subsidize the rest of the country where it operates at a loss. Well, no more.Related: Amtrak announces new summer fares

Congress just passed the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development appropriations bill or T-HUD. It creates a Northeast Corridor rail fund with $345 million in it designed to pay for upgrades here where the tracks get the most use. There’s also $200 million in there to install positive train control. That’s the system that automatically slows the train down for curves so derailments like the deadly one in the Bronx a couple years ago don’t happen again. That’s the T or transportation part of the bill the HUD part includes funding to help people living in federally assisted housing.

You may remember the Church Street South Housing project right across from the train station had issues with mold and asbestos that went overlooked until enough people complained about them. That project is now being torn down. This bill includes $135 million to reduce things like lead paint and other hazards in low-income housing.

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