Sen. Boucher on Metro North [Capitol Report]

February 4, 2014

All Aboard! Legislators Slam Metro-North
Courant Capitol Report Blog

In a letter to letter to the state’s congressional delegation

In a letter to the governor, congressional delegation and federal officials, state legislators are slamming Metro-North. They want federal intervention to force the troubled commuter railroad to make improvements:

The mounting problems that have plagued the Metro-North Railroad over the course of the last two years have reached a crisis point. A series of failures arising from mismanagement, negligence, and aged railroad infrastructure have resulted in fatal accidents and numerous injuries. Equipment breakdowns have considerably slowed train traffic or brought it to a halt. Rail commuters have reacted to this steadily worsening situation with an outcry for help. The level of frustration and safety concerns on the part of commuters is unprecedented. This has also been accompanied by expressions of concern and alarm from the general public.

… The problems cannot wait to be resolved. This situation must be addressed now to restore trust in Metro North’s ability to run its operations. Connecticut’s hands are tied, however, as it has no leverage due to a 60 year contract that is not meeting the needs of its customers or a modern rail system. We believe that that federal intervention may be required to address this dire situation.

… Intervention at a higher level of government may be necessary to correct this dangerous situation and to bring the railroad to working order. The Chairman and CEO of the MTA should establish measurable goals through which the railroad can advance to a safer and more dependable standard of service. Some of the issues commuters would like Metro North to address include: adherence to national safety standards and protocols that are currently not being met, commitment to immediately resolve passenger problems that are now occurring on a weekly basis, and evidence of management oversight of all employee activities. We are also suggesting that the federal government may wish to provide Metro-North with managerial and technical expertise that they may need to resolve the serious problems that they are experiencing. This assistance could be a valuable transitional tool for the new leadership of the railroad as it works to fill the existing void in its management.