NORWALK, Conn. -- The state of Connecticut is applying for $600 million in federal transportation funds to make railroad improvements, including $349 million to replace the aging Metro-North bridge across the Norwalk River, Gov. Dannel Malloy announced Monday.
The federal funds would help cover the capital costs of three resiliency, or hardening, projects important for the commuter rail infrastructure of Connecticut. The federal money would be matched with $200 million in state funds for upgrade and replacement projects along the New Haven Line.
“We learned some tough lessons during Super Storm Sandy, but one of the most important was that several aspects of our transportation infrastructure are in dire need of hardening measures. We have made billions of dollars in investments in new rail infrastructure in recent years, but it is just as crucial to maintain, protect and replace existing systems along the Northeast rail corridor,” said Malloy.
“In anticipation of adding even more service on this state-owned rail corridor, we want to undergo these projects now to ensure a safe and reliable commute for riders, prevent any major system interruptions and protect against future natural disasters.”
Congress and the Obama administration made $3 billion available for 11 states affected by Storm Sandy in October 2012. The grants will be announced in the fall.
Connecticut is applying for $603 million to be applied to the following components of the New Haven Line:
- $349 million in federal funding to help cover the cost of the Walk Bridge Replacement Project in Norwalk, representing 75 percent of the $465 million total project cost. ConnDOT would match the federal funding with $116 million in state funds. The funding will be used for project design, engineering, environmental clearance, and construction. The Walk bridge was built in 1896, and replacing it with a drawbridge (which would open for marine traffic from one side with a counterweight system) would enhance the safety and reliability of commuter and intercity passenger service along the Northeast corridor.
- $245 million in federal funding for the replacement of the existing communications and signaling system along the Connecticut section of the New Haven Line, representing 75 percent of the $326 million total project cost. ConnDOT would match the federal funding with $82 million in state funds.
- $9 million in federal funding for a power upgrade at the New Haven Rail Yard, representing 75 percent of the $12 million total project cost. ConnDOT would match the federal funding with $3 million in state funds. The project will protect power transmission to the yard in the event of high winds and flooding by providing two new underground feeders from the power company, to the yard’s power distribution system.
“Protecting the New Haven Rail Yard, the Walk Bridge and communications systems along the New Haven Metro-North line are important measures that will help ensure the viability of our commuter rail system for generations to come,” said U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. “These are investments we must make now, or pay for later with paralyzing service disruptions causing lost economic opportunity and hardship.”
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.