» New Haven-Hartford-Springfield corridor would get significantly improved service, opening up possibility of Inland Route New York-Boston trains.
As the competition for the rapidly diminishing federal funds for intercity rail heats up, states are apparently taking seriously Washington’s call for increasing local spending on such projects. The $10.5 billion thus far allocated by the Congress for this transportation mode may encourage state and municipal governments to devote much more of their own funds to the program. Indeed, the U.S. Department of Transportation — at least behind the scenes — seems to be informing states that the only way they’ll receive future grants is by committing some of their own budgets to new tracks and rolling stock.
This is the case in Connecticut, which received only $40 million in the first distribution of funds this past January. Governor Jodi Rell (R), who is in her last year in office, wants
Continue reading Connecticut, Intent on Improving In-State Rail Connections, Plans Bond Release »
» For two Connecticut cities, urban rail could provide improved connections.
Considering the number of American locales considering how to fund new streetcar lines, you’d think the U.S. Department of Transportation had set aside an unlimited pot of money for the purpose. The truth, of course, is that while Washington has begun making down payments on such lines from Dallas to Detroit, there is no long-term source of cash for the mode. And there are far more cities competing to get the money that is available than there are cities that will actually win it.
Nonetheless, places like Connecticut’s New Haven and Stamford are continuing to push forward with their proposals. Each has contracted out with consultant URS to evaluate potential routes for new streetcar lines, under the assumption that an investment in this type of transportation will induce expanded economic development in inner-city areas and increase public
Continue reading New Haven, Stamford Enter Streetcar Wars with Proposed Station-to-Downtown Links »
City plans for future development between downtown and principal train station
Streetcars last ran in New Haven, Connecticut’s second-biggest city, in 1948. Tracks were torn up and catenaries torn down as lines were replaced by bus routes and an increasingly car-driving public. But interest in a street-running rail system in the city remained, and this year Mayor John DeStefano (D) has made implementing a line one of his major priorities. But the project – so far without dedicated funding and lacking a commitment from the state government – could be stuck in the planning stage for a decade or more.
After studying the city’s downtown, transit consultants TranSystems concluded that a route connecting Union Station, where Amtrak intercity and Metro-North commuter rail trains arrive, with the downtown and medical center, would be most feasible in the short term. Future connections to the city’s less dense neighborhoods would
Continue reading New Haven Proposes New Streetcar and a Highway Tear-Down »
Commuter rail service likely to expand across the state, while light rail and busways being pushed in cities
The Hartford Courant reports today that the State of Connecticut has become an active proponent of transit expansion, with a focus on improving commuter rail. The state Transportation Commissioner, Joseph Marie, has been working under Governor Jodi Rell (R) to expand connections between lines and to improve transit within cities.
For years, the state has been considering how to implement a new commuter rail line from New Haven to Springfield, via the state capital in Hartford, but only recently has the state put aside funds to make the project happen. In addition, the government is considering reactivating a line between Hartford and Waterbury, which would allow for faster trains between the capital and New York City, as well as a line from New London to Providence, via Norwich. The Metro-North
Continue reading Connecticut Opens Up to Transit Expansion »
Seattle Approves Tunnel Replacement for Viaduct
After years of discussion – and few actual conclusions about what to do – it looks like Seattle will replace its elevated Alaskan Way Viaduct (shown in the picture above), which currently separates the city’s downtown from its waterfront, with a tunnel directly underneath downtown. It will be completed by 2015. The project, at a cost of $4.25 billion, will include the construction of the deep-bore two-level tunnel, the demolition of the viaduct, and its replacement with a park-like environment along the water (shown in the picture below). It seems likely that the city will contribute funds towards the project’s transit component, probably by building a waterfront streetcar that would fit in with the city’s overall inner city transit plan.
The viaduct, built in 1953, has been long in need of replacement. An earthquake in 2001 damaged it, making its continued use unsafe in the long-term.
Continue reading Seattle Viaduct Will be Tunnelled; Charlotte LRT to Expand; Connecticut Sees a New CR Line in Its Future »