(Middletown Press) “A very busy and productive week for state Sen. Art Linares.”

March 10, 2014

Article as it appeared in the Middletown Press

Linares touts bills promoting clean drinking water, rails to trails

HARTFORD >> It has been a very busy and productive week for state Sen. Art Linares.

Fresh off proposing a bill aimed at providing $50,000 in funding to the Haddam Historical Society to use in operating the Connecticut Spring Antiques Show Thursday, the local legislator was at it again on Friday.

At the Legislative Office building, Linares, R-33, testified before members of the state’s Environment Committee in strong support of a pair of bills aimed at providing cleaner water for the Tylerville section of Haddam and to preserve the Air Line State Park Trail as an important part of the state’s transportation history.

Linares said many residents have approached him on the issue of inefficient water supply in Haddam. In response, he is proposing a bill that will present grants for improvements to the long-term provision of water required to meet the public health, firefighting and economic development needs.

“The issue has been going on for a while,” said Linares. “To live and work in a beautiful district like this, it’s very unfortunate and something that should not happen.”

The state bond commission financed $470,000 last June to provide potable water to residents in Tylerville. However, Linares said he’s turning to the state to help out because more funding to ensure a long-term supply of clean water is necessary and important.

“That’s the direction we’re headed in at this point,” said Linares.

The senator is also working to either connect or develop a stretch of the Air Line State Park Trail from Portland to East Hampton to allow for access to the downtown area near Main Street.

The trail, which served as a high-speed passenger rail line from Boston to New York City and reached its peak during the late 1800s, was acquired by the Connecticut State Park system and converted into a public bridle trail in 1969. It was later divided into three sections: the south, which runs from Smith Street in East Hampton to the Willimantic River, the north, which stretches from Union Street in Willimantic to Town Farm Road in Putnam and the Thompson section, which runs from Route 193 in Thompson to the Massachusetts state line.

Linares said the bill is important because it supports a common cause that both political parties believe in — preserving open space for the historic site.

“It’s a huge national asset that needs to be called to attention and protected,” said Linares.

Linares is granting the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to use any funds to carry out the creation of the trail’s extension. The total amount has yet to be determined, although the process is slated to take effect sometime in October should the bill pass, he said.

“We have no fiscal note on that right now,” said Linares. “I’m confident that it will pass, but it’s going to take some time before it does.”