Shoreline Lawmakers Applaud Withdrawal of Southeast Connecticut Rail Bypass Proposal by the Federal Railroad Administration

July 12, 2017

A Caucus Event 2017-02-11 No To Tier 1 Hi Speed Train Rally Mystic CT (51 of 52)

State Senators Paul Formica (R-East Lyme), Heather Somers (R-Groton) and Art Linares (R-Westbrook), along with State Representatives Devin Carney (R-Old Saybrook), Holly Cheeseman (R-East Lyme) and Kathleen McCarty (R-Waterford) applauded the Federal Railroad Administration’s withdrawal of a plan to build high speed rail tracks that would have adversely impacted shoreline communities in Connecticut.

The Federal Railroad Administration’s controversial proposal to construct a bypass on the Northeast Corridor rail line between Old Saybrook, Connecticut to Kenyon, Rhode Island was met with strong opposition by Connecticut lawmakers and local communities. The FRA’s Record of Decision (ROD) for NEC FUTURE released today confirms that they will withdraw the plan for the new bypass and improve current rail lines instead.

“This is excellent news for our local communities. The people of Southeastern Connecticut spoke up and made their voices heard loud and clear that this rail bypass would have deeply disrupted and hurt our communities. Learning that the federal government has withdrawn this plan in favor of other improvements is a testament to what we can accomplish when we join our voices together,” said Sen. Formica, who alongside Representative Carney represents Old Lyme and introduced legislation in opposition to the proposal that would have also prevented using any Connecticut dollars to fund the controversial plan. “I also want to thank Old Lyme First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder and Old Lyme resident Greg Stroud for their relentless efforts to share information and bring people together to share our concerns.”

“This fight has been going on for over a year-and-a-half and I am thrilled that the thousands of voices within the 23rd District and beyond were heard loud and clear” said Rep. Carney. “I want thank all of the federal and state lawmakers, municipal leaders, non-profit groups, and, most importantly, my constituents who worked with me and others to express our collective opposition to this proposal.”

“I am thrilled to hear the news that our strong advocacy against a bypass through Southeastern Connecticut has paid off,” said Sen. Somers. “While expanding capacity to our rail line is important it should not be done at the expense of our peaceful shoreline towns and the families and businesses that reside in them. I applaud the Federal Railroad Administration for listening to the residents of Connecticut and for their response to our concerns about the proposed bypass system. I am happy to bring some good news to my shoreline constituents and I look forward to continued cooperation with the FRA to help make improvements to our existing rail line. I would also like to thank the many business and municipal leaders that joined me at the rally against the bypass in February – our solidarity has shown to be a strong force.”

“While we can all appreciate the desire to enhance transportation throughout our state, the Federal Railroad Administration’s initial proposal was deeply flawed and would have caused significant damage to local communities and economies throughout southeastern Connecticut,” said Sen. Linares. “It is incredible news to see that our efforts to speak up on this issue had a positive impact and resulted in action.”

“This is fabulous news for the shoreline community in Southeastern Connecticut. Thank you to all those residents who spoke out against this plan and advocated for alternative improvements to our rail system. We were heard!” said Rep. Cheeseman.

“It is important to so many Waterford residents, including myself, that we preserve the natural ecosystems along our shoreline for the benefit of the environment, as well as for future generations to enjoy,” Rep. McCarty.  “We should continue to focus on improving and repairing existing transportation infrastructure for our commuters, but it is not the right time to impose a new railway on our community.”

The Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) today released the Record of Decision for NEC Future, FRA’s comprehensive plan for improvements to the Northeast Corridor rail line from Washington, D.C., to Boston, MA which does not include the rail bypass proposal. The full plan is now available on the NEC FUTURE website at