Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Connecticut funding sought for New Haven-Springfield line

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Connecticut’s Bond Commission will vote at its next meeting January 8 whether to supply $26 million in funding as the state share to expand double-tracking of Amtrak’s New Haven-to-Springfield line, an offshoot of the Northeast Corridor. The state funds would serve as the requisite commitment for any federal funding assistance.

Nutmeg State officials, led by Gov. Jodi Rell, say the funds are needed for design, environmental, and engineering studies of the 62-mile route.

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Double-tracking of one particular 10-mile stretch of route outside of Hartford, the state capital, reportedly would improve Amtrak operations and presumably allow additional service. Amtrak currently runs six weekday trains along the route in each direction. Freight rail moves also take place along the route.

“This is a crucial step forward for one of the most important transportation improvements we have made in decades,” said Rell, who also said the improvements would spur economic development along the route.

Connecticut planners seek to add several new stations, and also institute a bus connection to Bradley International Airport from Amtrak's Windsor Locks station.