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Monday, March 03, 2014

Talking Transportation: MNRR Tarnishes Gold Coast

By Jim Cameron

Special to WestportNow

Even if you never ride Metro-North, the railroad’s current problems are hitting your pocketbook. This “winter of discontent” shows signs of becoming a chronic problem, bleeding our state’s resources, human and monetary.  Here’s why:

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At the “Commuter Speakout” in mid-February in Southport, almost 200 angry riders turned out to confront the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT) and Metro-North officials, sharing their horror stories of longer rides, unheated railcars and stranded trains But they did more than complain—they threatened to move away.

Several real estate agents told the crowd they had lost closings when folks moving up from New York City got wind of the Metro-North problems. Others already living in Connecticut said they were moving closer to their Manhattan jobs, to towns with dependable, cheaper mass transit. 

If people move out of Connecticut, they take with them their taxes, both local (property) and state (sales and income). Reduced demand for real estate lowers property values. Your town’s grand list shrinks and taxes must rise to fill the gap, creating a vicious cycle. The Gold Coast is losing its luster.

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