Sen. Kissel Pushes for High-Speed Rail Station in Thompsonville Section of Enfield [Hartford Courant]

February 14, 2013

Article as it appeared in the Hartford Courant

Enfield Asks State To Build Rail Station In Thompsonville
Wants To Be A Stop On Proposed High-Speed Railway

By AMANDA FALCONE, [email protected]
The Hartford Courant
1:33 PM EST, February 13, 2013

HARTFORD —Enfield officials asked state lawmakers Wednesday to build a high-speed rail station in the Thompsonville section of their town.

The local officials who testified at the legislature’s transportation committee public hearing say they want Enfield to be a stop on the proposed high-speed railway between New Haven and Springfield. Putting a station in Thompsonville would improve the community’s economy, said town Councilman William Edgar Jr.

“Enfield is the hub of north central Connecticut,” Edgar said, explaining that many town residents work in either Hartford or Springfield.

Asnuntuck Community College is also in town, and Thompsonville is located near major roadways like I-91 and Route 5, he said. A rail stop would bring people from surrounding communities to Enfield, he added.

“This station would be a game-changer,” Edgar said.

Another town councilor, William Lee, said if the state agrees to build a rail station in Thompsonville it would allow the town and state to capitalize on nearby development projects, he said.

Lee specifically mentioned the Bradley Airport development zone, which was created in 2010 to offer tax incentives for businesses in Windsor Locks, Suffield, East Granby and Windsor. He also mentioned that the town could benefit from a casino in Springfield, Mass., if it had a stop on the high-speed rail.

Lori Longhi, a member of Enfield’s planning and zoning commission and a member of the Thompsonville revitalization committee, said it’s important to know whether Thompsonville will have a stop on the rail line before Enfield starts rezoning that section of town.

Enfield is currently studying zoning regulations in Thompsonville.

All speakers stressed the importance of installing a double-track rail line north of Hartford, saying that they were concerned when they heard there may only be a single track in that area.

“Don’t forget us,” said state Sen. John Kissel, R-Enfield. “We’re doing our fair share. The state needs to do its fair share.”

Responding to comments from Enfield officials, Rep. Antonio Guerrera, D-Rocky Hill, said he understands that to have a vital economic engine in Connecticut all communities need to be linked to the rail system. The issue is how to pay for that, said Guerrera, who is co-chairman of the transportation committee.

“We have to be honest with ourselves,” he said. “How do we do this?”

Guerrera said the state cannot rely on the federal government for subsidies. Both state and local leaders should think outside the box, he said.

“It’s not just an Enfield issue,” Guerrera said. “It’s a state of Connecticut issue.”

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