I’ve been meaning to highlight this story, because it’s very exciting, and a great alternative to the busway plans which have been languishing for years:
Officials with Pan Am Railways told lawmakers that for $52 million, their company could bring the tracks on the Waterbury-to-Berlin stretch up to federal standards for passenger service and also build small stations in Bristol, Plainville and New Britain.
“We could get this [rail line] ready in 18 months, and we could do it for $50 million. I think that’s less than the cost overruns for the New Britain busway will be,” state Rep. David McCluskey, D- West Hartford, said Wednesday. (Stacom)
There’s a very good chance that this project could qualify for stimulus funds, but even if it doesn’t lawmakers should seriously consider it. The idea of connecting Hartford, New Britain, Plainville and Bristol to the Waterbury Metro-North line is a much better one than just running buses on a specific, paved route. Plus, if the line they’re interested in is the one I’m thinking, then the busway’s planned route would be untouched. DOT could still build the busway, should they ever get around to it.
Eighteen months. For commuter rail, we’re talking years. The busway, who knows? But if we can have a new passenger service ready by the end of 2010, we should go for it.
Rep. McCluskey has been right on top of getting mass transit up and running in central Connecticut, and he’s to be commended.
Here’s a map showing what such a line might look like (station locations in Bristol, Plainville and New Britain are my own speculation):
Stacom, Don. “Legislators Press For Waterbury-To-Hartford Rail Service.” Hartford Courant 29 January, 2009.