HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– The Governor cleared the tracks Monday to make way for several new train stations on what will become known as the Hartford Line. The new New Haven to Hartford to Springfield commuter rail line is slated to start running next year.
The Governor admits he wants everything, bigger highways, more trains, and more buses, and he has a plan to convince you to pay for it.
The 1870’s vintage train station in Windsor is one of several that will be getting modern enhancements for when the New Haven to Hartford to Springfield commuter line starts running in late 2016.
“Creating a commuter rail line along the I-91 corridor is part of our transformative transportation vision of Connecticut,” said Governor Malloy following Monday’s State Bonding Commission meeting where $5.75 million was approved for planning the stations.
The funding given the okay Monday includes a location study for a new train station in Hamden, plus stations in North Haven, Newington, West Hartford, and Enfield.
The new Hartford Line will feature 22 commuter trains per day stopping at all those new and refurbished stations on the 62-mile corridor between New Haven and Springfield. New stations will also be added on the New Haven Line in Orange and Bridgeport, plus enhancements to the Merritt Seven station on the Danbury line.
Last week, the Governor announced he wants to widen I-95 from New York to Rhode Island, so there are big plans for every part of the state. To get Republicans to go along with new taxes, fees, or highway tolls, the Governor is even advocating a Republican idea: a State Constitutional Amendment requiring that all money raised from those sources go to transportation improvements. Is this enhancement likely to get Republican votes?
“It certainly is,” said State Sen. Toni Boucher, R-Wilton, the ranking Republican on the Transportation Committee. “In fact, members of my side of the aisle have proposed this in the past.”
“Yes, I think as part of that package he’s going to have to ask us to consider a Constitutional Amendment that would protect the proceeds of any new sources of revenue for transportation purposes,” said State Sen. Scott Frantz, R-Greenwich.
Will this help sell higher taxes, fees, and highway tolls to the general public?
“If we say we’re going to put a Constitutional Amendment, a true lockbox, then I think they’d be okay knowing that money is going to fix our infrastructure,” said State Rep. Tony Guerrera, D-Rocky Hill, the Co-Chairman of the Transporation Committee.
Some state lawmakers will actually admit off the record that they know a large percentage of the public doesn’t trust them because in the past they have said one thing and done another. Both Republicans and Democrats say the Constitutional Amendment process could help sooth those fears.