Saturday, March 02, 2024

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Talking Transportation: New Haven Rail Yard Budget Mess

By Jim Cameron

Special to WestportNow

Once again, our elected officials in Hartford have outdone themselves. At a time when mass transit seems the only alternative to high gas prices (ridership is soaring and trains are jammed), they are nickel and dimeing our state’s transportation future.

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The issue: the overdue rail yard maintenance facility in New Haven. In 2005, lawmakers approved $300 million for these vital shops and repair facilities for our soon-to-be-delivered M8 rail cars. Now, everyone in Hartford seems shocked, stunned or amazed that the project has grown to $1.2 billion.

Mind you—the cost quadrupled partly because the project more than doubled in size, so let’s keep our apples and oranges straight.

At recent hearings, legislators have suggested that the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CDOT) slash its plan, and indeed, the agency itself came up with $11 million in cost cuts. “That’s no more than a ‘rounding error,’” grumbled one lame duck senator.