Both Democrats and Republicans are praising Gov. Ned Lamont’s aspiration for rapid train service connecting Hartford to New Haven, New Haven to Stamford, and Stamford to New York City.
“I’m so excited that we have a governor that finally understands the importance of Fairfield County and Metro-North,” said Rep. Laura Devlin, (R – Fairfield). “The economic factor that that could drive and the desirability factor just to get to New York within even an hour from Fairfield, that would provide.”
Lamont made this bold statement during his first address to the people of Connecticut Wednesday: “You know what we do? I believe in the 30/30/30 – I want the following to be a reality: 30 minutes from Hartford to New Haven; 30 minutes from New Haven to Stamford; and 30 minutes from Stamford to New York.”
New Democratic Sen. Alex Bergstein campaigned on upgrading Connecticut’s railways to high-speed systems. She was also very happy to hear the new governor mention rapid train times during his first major address.
“The fact of the matter is New York and New Jersey have invested in their infrastructure over time and the travel time to Manhattan has gone down and property values have gone up. Connecticut has done the opposite,” she said. “We’ve underinvested in our infrastructure and we’re in a predicament where we really have to catch up and exceed our neighbors in order to stay competitive.”
Since 1976, train times have actually increased between New Haven and Grand Central Terminal in New York City. A Business Council of Fairfield study found that the time up by six minutes by 2014.
Devlin says she doesn’t want to see any new revenues to pay for transportation, and said the existing bonding system should be enough.
“Tolls are essentially a $700 million tax on Connecticut residents, $350 million at least out of residents in Fairfield County. We’ve got to look at prioritizing projects in DOT, also looking for greater efficiency. So if we can do those things first, that would be more important,” Devlin said.
Bergstein, who campaigned on bringing tolls to Connecticut says taxpayers are demanding better infrastructure like high speed trains, and adds that they understand the cost of new, bold projects.
“The taxpayers I speak to definitely understand it. They don’t understand why we don’t have tolls, yet. Every state around us has it, and, again, it’s an opportunity lost to access billions in private sector financing. Why wouldn’t we want to access that?”