Senator Boucher Hails Federal Stimulus Funding For Area Projects

March 25, 2009

Governor’s Recovery Working Group Supports Danbury Branch Line & Train Station Projects

Senator Toni Boucher (R-26) expressed her gratitude to Governor M. Jodi Rell’s Recovery Working Group for supporting the use of federal stimulus funds to upgrade the signal system on the Danbury Branch Line and make improvements to several train station depots in Fairfield County.

The working group recently approved spending $30 million in federal stimulus funds for the Danbury Branch Line Centralized Train Control and Signalization Project

“Most people are surprised and incredulous when they learn that a train engineer must manually plus a switch to allow trains to pass each other on the Norwalk to Danbury Brach train line. By all accounts this is very old if not 18th century technology. Installing a centralized train control and automatic signal system is vital to our long time ongoing efforts to transform the Danbury Branch into the well-functioning train line commuters need. Investing federal stimulus funds will allow the state to move forward with this important project,” said Senator Boucher.

“I have been working on this project for many years now, going back more than a decade when the state actually recommended shutting this train line down. It took a great deal of effort to save it and keep it functioning. Fortunately, we have come a long way since then. Over 12 years of constant advocacy has not been in vain. Today, we are extremely fortunate to have a Governor and a transportation commissioner, Joseph Marie, who understand the need for a quality train system for the economic vitality of a region of our state, an area that contributes a lion share of revenues to our budget. I am very grateful that they have finally brought this project to fruition. They know that this project must be done now to increase capacity and flexibility that will pave the way for future improvements, including the electrification of this major transportation artery. Now financial help from the federal government will help to pay for this important project,” added Senator Boucher.

“I am sure there will be a collective sigh of relief when this project is completed from frustrated commuters and regional leaders. We have waited a long time for this to happen, said Senator Boucher.

The working group also approved spending federal stimulus funds to make capital improvements at Metro North train stations, including several in Fairfield County:

• Westport – $571,724
• Greens Farms – $332,164
• Bethel – $53,700
• West Redding – $48,500
• Branchville – $58,872
• Cannondale – $76,320
• Wilton – $56,820
• New Canaan- $22,800
• Talmadge Hill – $54,800

“I am delighted that we will be spending some of the state’s share of federal stimulus funding to make improvements to our train stations. It is in our best interests to invest in projects like these that encourage commuters to use mass transportation whenever possible, relieving traffic congestion on our highways,” said Senator Boucher.

Governor Rell established her working group made up of state and local officials and legislators to identify projects that qualify for federal stimulus funds.