Delegation Announces Ideas to Improve Metro North, Danbury to Norwalk Branch Line

February 13, 2015

Senator Scott Frantz discussing pending legislation with a local television reporter in the lobby of the Legislative Office Building in Hartford.

Hartford, CT –Senator Scott Frantz joins his colleagues from Southwestern Connecticut including Senator Toni Boucher, Representatives O’Dea and Lavielle in announcing a series of bills aimed at improving the Metro North and Danbury to Norwalk Branch Line.
“Metro North has had serious operational and infrastructure issue in the last 2 years. It is more important than ever that the people of southwestern Connecticut stand with elected officials to make sure any improvements are supported,” added Sen. Frantz (Greenwich), a member of the Transportation Committee.

“Transportation is a top priority for our district and our state and the issue is on the top of the Governor’s to do list this session,” said Sen. Boucher (Wilton). “It is critical that the district rail lines are improved for the general welfare of commuters and for commerce. Getting from point A to point B safely and on time has to be a focus.”

“The update and upgrade of Metro-North’s lines are seriously overdue,” said Rep. Tom O’Dea (R-125 New Canaan), Ranking Member of the Legislature’s Transportation Committee. “Commuters have suffered under unacceptable conditions as unnecessary obstacles are thrown before the workforce we depend on as the engine of our state economy. These bills will take us through the critical first steps of changing those conditions, and providing the necessary investments which will ensure safety, reliability and efficiency.”

45% of Connecticut’s tax revenue comes from Fairfield County residents, many of whom commute long hours to and from their places of work. The poor condition of Fairfield’s transportation infrastructure is surprising considering how the region’s vitality is so critical to Connecticut’s economy.

“Commuters on the Danbury Branch Line have long felt like the poor stepchildren of Metro-North,” said Rep. Lavielle (R-143 Wilton), Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation. “Even with the recent upgrades to the signal system, service is still unreliable, the trains frequently break down, and there are significant delays almost every day. It is time to bring the Danbury Line into the modern world and give our commuters a break. Upgrading the line and enforcing its performance standards to provide faster, safer, more reliable and frequent service would stimulate the area’s economy, reduce traffic congestion in the Route 7 corridor, and dramatically improve the quality of life for rail commuters and everyone who lives in our region. Passing these bills would go a long way toward making this happen.”

This week the Transportation Committee held a public hearing on the proposed bills to improve transportation specific to Metro North and the Danbury to Norwalk Branch Line those include:

Proposed Senate Bill No. 498 AN ACT REQUIRING IMPROVEMENTS TO THE NEW CANAAN RAIL LINE

Proposed Senate Bill No. 690 AN ACT CONCERNING ELECTRIFICATION OF THE DANBURY RAIL LINE

Proposed House Bill 6330 AN ACT AUTHORIZING SPECIAL TAX OBLIGATIONS BONDS OF THE STATE TO UPGRADE THE DANBURY BRANCH OF METRO NORTH

Proposed House Bill 6350 AN ACT CONCERNING AN EXPANSION OF COMMUTER RAIL LINES TO THE TOWN OF NEW MILFORD

Proposed House Bill 5926 AN ACT CONCERNING PERFORMANCE STANDARDS FOR THE OPERATION OF THE DANBURY RAIL LINE