MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — As part of a major overhaul of downtown Meriden, a new transit center is now under construction in Meriden. It is just months away from opening, a combined train and bus station that would tap into not only Amtrak service, but also the commuter line currently under construction that will soon link New Haven, Hartford and Springfield. Officials say there’s only one thing that could derail the project: The Trump administration.
“They owe us this money on time and we will produce it for them,” vowed Democratic U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal. He toured the construction site this morning, along with 5th district Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, and Meriden’s Mayor, Kevin Scarpati. There is still a few million dollars in federal funding needed to complete the station, and suddenly, nothing is certain in Washington, D.C.
“As a developer, I think the president should understand, it would be as if you had this huge development project, the building is just about completed, ready to welcome tenants, but the sewer line isn’t done and nobody finishes it,” Rep. Elizabeth Esty explained.
“If we don’t get the funding necessary to finish these projects, the new infrastructure and everything we’re doing, our new green – is for naught,” said Mayor Scarpati.
Last year, the new Meriden green opened. It is criss-crossed with streams. Years ago, engineers diverted those streams into pipes to build on this land, but every spring, they would overwhelm the pipes and flood this area. The green is now essentially a big basin, and the flooding will be water under the bridge. That big bridge over the center of the green takes people right to the new transit center. If everything goes according to plan, it should open in July, with the new rail line starting next January.
“This is a major priority for the state. Our delegation has doubled down on a commitment to make sure, at this critical juncture, we get what the citizens of Connecticut need and deserve to have right now,” said Esty.
The hope is that new project combined with the beautiful new town green that opened up last year will get a lot of people to take a look at downtown Meriden as a place to live and work.