Senator Boucher Welcomes Spotlight On Norwalk/Danbury Branch Line

February 18, 2010

State Senator Toni Boucher (R-26), leading Republican Senator on the General Assembly’s Transportation Committee, said she welcomes the interest being shown in the Danbury Branch Line by two Connecticut Congressmen.

“It is a good thing that Congressmen Jim Himes and Chris Murphy are familiarizing themselves with our branch line by riding the train from Danbury to South Norwalk today. We have come a long way since the late 1990s when there was a serious budget proposal to permanently shut down our branch line and replace it with a super highway and buses! Fortunately, we were successful in fighting this proposal, and saved our train line. Over the last decade, I have worked continuously to bring the computerized signaling system (CTC) project to fruition. Governor Rell and state Transportation Commissioner Marie took this call for action seriously. We were finally able to access federal and state funds that had been set aside for nearly a decade and apply it to this project that had been shovel-ready for years. Adding the federal stimulus funds to what we had already set aside, with the support of the Governor, is now making this project a reality,” said Senator Boucher.

Senator Boucher said that Fairfield County residents and government officials have continued to express their support for updating the Norwalk/Danbury Branch Line. Many local elected officials, representatives of the area planning organizations, mass transit advocates and train commuters traveled to the State Capitol last year to express their support for implementing the recommendations of the Norwalk/Danbury Branch Line Improvement Plan.

“We are grateful that a portion of Connecticut’s share of the federal stimulus funding is being spent to, at long last, equip the Norwalk/Danbury Branch Line with remotely controlled signals, which is the key to making other necessary improvements in the future. It is my hope that our federally elected officials become advocates of our branch line, and will continue to shine a spotlight on the need to modernize this important component of our mass transit system and help attract more federal support for making further improvements,” said Senator Boucher.

Senator Boucher said that she is optimistic that Connecticut will continue to invest in the Norwalk/Danbury Branch Line, along with other mass transportation projects that will provide jobs, encourage regional economic development, and revitalize Connecticut’s economy.

“The federal government’s investment in the Norwalk/Danbury Branch Line is welcome, and I am sure that our congressmen will recognize the benefits of continuing to make improvements. Saving the Norwalk/Danbury Branch Line for Connecticut was a hard-fought, worthwhile, battle. Our continuing challenge is to completely modernize it to meet not only today’s needs, but also future needs. For far too long, commuters who should have been using this line felt compelled to use the New Canaan, South Norwalk and Westport stations because of the faulty, outmoded equipment on this branch line. This necessary upgrade will go far in alleviating stress on many other congested train stations throughout Fairfield Count,” said Senator Boucher.