A 21st century makeover of Connecticut’s railways would benefit the state’s economy in numerous ways, according to a long-term plan developed by the Department of Transportation.

DOT Commissioner James Redeker unveiled the State Rail Plan 2012-2016 to a combined meeting of the legislature’s Finance and Transportation committees recently in Hartford.

It’s an expansive vision outlining “a system that provides high-speed, intercity, regional commuter and freight services that will be a catalyst for smart growth, encourage greater mobility, promote the state and regional competitive advantage in the global economy, decrease highway and aviation congestion, reduce energy use, and improve air quality.”

However, Commissioner Redeker said the plan comes with a big string attached—enough funding to make it happen. There’s not nearly enough now, and the immediate prospects from state and federal funding sources are not promising.

But the point of the study was to put everything on the table to see what’s necessary to fulfill the potential of Connecticut’s railways.

Said the commissioner, the plan is “not based on the least cost [but] on the most benefit.”

CBIA believes that upgrading Connecticut’s railways is necessary to having a transportation infrastructure that can sustain a growing economy. With limited state and federal resources available, however, state policymakers will have to make strategic choices.  

For more information, contact CBIA’s Eric Brown at 860.244.1926 or eric.brown@cbia.com.