February 6, 2009

Legislation proposed jointly by State Senator Len Fasano (R-North Haven) and State Representative Mike Lawlor (D-East Haven) to plan for a train station in East Haven cleared its first legislative hurdle on Friday when it was voted to be raised as a bill in the General Assembly’s Transportation Committee.

The legislators are hoping that discussion of the bill will be the first step in the process for building a train platform and parking area in the town. The Shore Line East commuter train service originates in New Haven and ends in New London; it currently stops in every town along the shoreline except for East Haven.

“Many residents of East Haven have contacted me in recent years about the possibility of adding a train stop in our town, and I think it’s something that we definitely should look into,” said Representative Lawlor, who recently was appointed as a member of the Transportation Committee. He said a likely location for a train platform would be in the general vicinity of the town’s Home Depot. “East Haveners work in New Haven, Fairfield County, and New York. This can be a good alternative to the increasingly congested highways.”

“This is an excellent first step toward creating a safer and more convenient way for East Haven residents to commute,” said Senator Fasano. “Reducing traffic gridlock and improving air quality by investing in mass transportation is an important goal for all of Connecticut. By putting a plan together now, hopefully we will be ready to build a train station in East Haven when economic conditions improve. I look forward to working with Representative Lawlor and Mayor April Capone Almon to move this legislation forward.”

The lawmakers acknowledged the economic difficulty of financing the construction of a new train platform during these tough fiscal times, however they’re hoping that the planning can be done now so that its construction can begin within the next 5 to 10 years as funding becomes available.

The proposal will receive a public hearing in the Transportation Committee within the next two months. If residents are interested in testifying on the bill, they can contact either Rep. Lawlor or Sen. Fasano for more details.