CT receives federal grants for rail improvements


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Governor Lamont and Congressional Delegation Announce Connecticut Receives $85.2 Million in Federal Grants for Northeast Corridor Rail Improvements

Governor Ned Lamont and the Connecticut Congressional Delegation today announced that Connecticut has been reward two grants totaling more than $85.2 million from the Federal Railroad Administration for major infrastructure improvement projects on the Northeast Corridor.

The funds will be used for two major capital projects that improve safety and reliability along Connecticut-owned New Haven Line and Amtrak-owned Shore Line East, ensuring no disruption does not occur along the northeast corridor. They are awarded as part of the Federal-State Partnership for State of Repair Grant Program.

The first grant, in the amount of $65.2 million, will support the replacement of the Amtrak-owned Connecticut River Bridge between Old Saybrook and Old Lyme with a new modern and resilient drawbridge. The project will improve safety, reliability and travel time. Top speeds will increase from 45 miles per hour on the current range up to 70 miles per hour. The existing 115-year-old Connecticut River Bridge poses a significant risk of long-term disruption to the Northeast Corridor due to its age and condition. The bridge serves the Northeast Corridor main line and is used by Amtrak intercity service, Shore Line East commuter rail service, and freight operators. The replacement bridge will retain the current two-lane configuration and channel location and provide a swing span with additional vertical clearance for vessel traffic. Bridge opening delays will be significantly reduced and Amtrak will realize maintenance savings from the new structure. Today’s grant marks the second Federal-State Partnership Program contribution to the project, with an additional $65.2 million awarded in fiscal year 2020. The Connecticut Department of Transportation and Amtrak will provide matching 38%.

The second grant, in the amount of $20 million, will support the first phase of the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s comprehensive plan to replace all seven electrical substations along the New Haven line, beginning with the replacement of first two. These substations have not been repaired or renovated since the 1980s. Modernized substations will be more reliable, more energy efficient and less expensive to maintain. Aging electrical infrastructure poses a significant risk of disruption to rail service, and maintaining assets is critical to ensuring reliable rail service for passengers.

Governor Lamont said, “We all know how essential the North East Corridor is for job creation, economic growth and environmentally friendly transport. Our administration has a vision for faster, more reliable and greener public transportation, and we are doing everything we can to make that vision a reality. Thanks to these grants, this reality is one step closer. We cannot do this alone as a state, and I am grateful for the continued support of our federal partners, our congressional delegation, and Amtrak. Together, we continue to bring more trains and service to travelers in Connecticut and throughout the Northeast Corridor.

In a joint statement, members of the Connecticut congressional delegation said, “The Northeast Corridor is one of the busiest rail lines in North America, with more than 144,000 commuters using the New Haven Line and Shore Line East daily to get to work or visit family. This critical funding from the Federal Railroad Administration will make desperately needed improvements to the New Haven Line and Shore Line East, paving the way for more reliable and faster public transportation. This significant investment in Connecticut improves power supply and removes a major choke point along the Shore Line East by replacing the obsolete and deteriorating Connecticut River Bridge. We will continue to fight for federal funding to improve Connecticut’s infrastructure.

Connecticut Transportation Commissioner Joe Giulietti said, “We appreciate the Federal Railroad Administration’s continued support of Connecticut’s rail infrastructure, which will help improve safety and reliability along the Northeast Corridor. Governor Lamont challenged us from day one to improve services and speed up trains, and with these grants, we continue to move in that direction. The rails that cross Connecticut are vital to the Northeast Corridor and New England’s transportation network. These investments will ensure the maintenance and modernization of safe, reliable and environmentally friendly transportation options.

Dennis Newman, executive vice president of strategy, planning and accessibility for Amtrak, said, “Amtrak is grateful to the Federal Railroad Administration for providing two grants totaling more than $85.2 million to fund critical infrastructure projects on the Northeast Corridor in Connecticut – the New Haven Line Power Program and the Connecticut River Bridge. Funding from these grants will help modernize the state’s infrastructure and improve the reliability of commuter and intercity rail services to provide a better travel experience for Connecticut residents and visitors.

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