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PROPOSED: Hartford-New Haven-Springfield Commuter/High Speed Rail Line

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So I know we've had separate discussions about New Haven-Hartford-Springfield and Waterbury-Hartford lines, but I wanted to bring this up given: http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/04/16/obama.rail/index.html

First, I always find it funny that the Acela express goes through NH. I know it's historically there, but there seem to be so many kinks to the rail line from NH to Boston AND I'm sure land down there is VERY expensive, so any hopes of realigning tracks could have a hefty price tag. Why not route it through Hartford to Providence via Williamantic or Hartford to Boston via Worcester?

Second, more generalized version of previous point, we talk a lot about linking to nyc, but why not link to Boston? Why hasn't there been much talk about this?

I don't think for us having to change trains in New Haven is such a big deal to access a real high-speed line someday. Acela is really not much faster than the Vermonter that does route through Hartford to Washington DC. The problem with the line to Boston is that it was ripped up in the 1970's I believe, and would be a much bigger project. I do think it should happen. Hartford to Waterbury still has rails, but the DOT is trying to push the busway on part of that line instead sadly (despite practically everyone thinking its a bad idea).

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New York is a massive economic power, which Boston can not rival. How many people would be willing to commute two hours to New York vs. two hours to Boston? Even here in Thompson, there aren't that many people who commute to Boston. Too far outside 495. How many people 65 miles from Manhattan go there every morning?

The other thing is, the best rail connection between Hartford and Boston would probably end up going through Springfield. Massachusetts can't even get Worcester to Boston straight or in a timely manner. So unless Mass. and Conn. decided to build an entirely new route going from Hartford to at least Framingham...

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What the F? Funding IS available... B.O. already announced that! Jeez, Dodd is a useless pustule.

State Seeks Funding For More Commuter Rail Service

Associated Press

1:58 PM EDT, May 8, 2009

U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd and Connecticut's General Assembly leaders are discussing whether federal money might be available to help revive commuter rail service between New Haven and western Massachusetts. Dodd and the lawmakers meet Friday to discuss the project, a 64-mile link between New Haven and Springfield, Mass. Regular commuter rail service has not been available there for decades, though many people use Amtrak. Supporters think reviving the service would ease highway congestion and boost economic development. The current law on nationwide transportation funding and policies expires Sept. 30. Congress is working on updates, and many Connecticut and Massachusetts officials hope commuter rail service will get more funding in the new package.

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Time to vote him out, he's too content and entrenched in his office. Need someone who will at least try and deliver things for us.

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hey, guys.....

I read the article and I have no idea how Dodd is a bad guy in all of this. Any time an elected official is after more federal funding and looking to improve mass transit in his district I say HELL YEAH!!

what is the problem.

people are anti Dodd for some reason but lets face it he is a very powerfull dude and it will be 20 years before any future state rep could end up on the comittess he is on.

if you have a legitimate reason to be upset I would love to hear it. if it is political. honeltly I do not care.

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hey, guys.....

I read the article and I have no idea how Dodd is a bad guy in all of this. Any time an elected official is after more federal funding and looking to improve mass transit in his district I say HELL YEAH!!

what is the problem.

people are anti Dodd for some reason but lets face it he is a very powerfull dude and it will be 20 years before any future state rep could end up on the comittess he is on.

if you have a legitimate reason to be upset I would love to hear it. if it is political. honeltly I do not care.

Dodd is corrupt, he gets special mortgages from the companies he oversees. Dodd and Barney Frank are directly responsible for the mortgage crisis. He and Frank forced financial companies to give mortgages to people who couldn't pay them (the poor) and when they defaulted the system fell apart. Dodd snuck in the language that protected the AIG bonus everyone went nuts over.

Besides, if he is so powerful how come every year Connecticut gets back the least tax money from the Federal government of any state. Dodd does not bring home the bacon, he lets Connecticut et raped when it comes to tax fairness.

Need more?

Edited by beerbeer

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Dodd is corrupt, he gets special mortgages from the companies he oversees. Dodd and Barney Frank are directly responsible for the mortgage crisis. He and Frank forced financial companies to give mortgages to people who couldn't pay them (the poor) and when they defaulted the system fell apart. Dodd snuck in the language that protected the AIG bonus everyone went nuts over.

Besides, if he is so powerful how come every year Connecticut gets back the least tax money from the Federal government of any state. Dodd does not bring home the bacon, he lets Connecticut et raped when it comes to tax fairness.

Need more?

You think that will be enough to convince voice of reason? Dodd has got to go. I don't even care if we lose committee chairmanships and the likes. Can you imagine if Dodd was a Republican, there would of been non-stop media coverage of his corrupt actions. Plus calls for his immediate removal by Democratic leadership.

Edited by drc72

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Dodd is corrupt, he gets special mortgages from the companies he oversees. Dodd and Barney Frank are directly responsible for the mortgage crisis. He and Frank forced financial companies to give mortgages to people who couldn't pay them (the poor) and when they defaulted the system fell apart. Dodd snuck in the language that protected the AIG bonus everyone went nuts over.

Besides, if he is so powerful how come every year Connecticut gets back the least tax money from the Federal government of any state. Dodd does not bring home the bacon, he lets Connecticut et raped when it comes to tax fairness.

Need more?

Just as much if not more of the blame falls on the middle, upper middle class, and faux wealthy who bought $600,000 McMansions in the exurbs and sprawl inducing sub divisions all over the nation. Those larger mortages for properties that have experienced steep declines in values are what have caused many affluent areas to get hit hard in this crisis as well. People are trying to make the poor and minorities into scapegoats. The vast majority of the poor still do not own any property or hold any mortgages so its not even mathematically possible that they are a huge proportion of the troubled mortgages. We are talking about the middle class biting off more than they could chew and thinking property values would climb endlessly. Those are the real issues most affecting the mortgage meltdown. The financial companies were loving it when they were repackaging these trash mortages into products to sell to other rich people so I don't think it is even close to accurate to say they were forced. Allowed and encouraged is more like it.

This has nothing to do with the commuter line though. Let's get back on topic.....

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Just as much if not more of the blame falls on the middle, upper middle class, and faux wealthy who bought $600,000 McMansions in the exurbs and sprawl inducing sub divisions all over the nation. Those larger mortages for properties that have experienced steep declines in values are what have caused many affluent areas to get hit hard in this crisis as well. People are trying to make the poor and minorities into scapegoats. The vast majority of the poor still do not own any property or hold any mortgages so its not even mathematically possible that they are a huge proportion of the troubled mortgages. We are talking about the middle class biting off more than they could chew and thinking property values would climb endlessly. Those are the real issues most affecting the mortgage meltdown. The financial companies were loving it when they were repackaging these trash mortages into products to sell to other rich people so I don't think it is even close to accurate to say they were forced. Allowed and encouraged is more like it.

This has nothing to do with the commuter line though. Let's get back on topic.....

Those $600,000 home values don't slide if Dodd and Frank don't push Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to cover the mortgages dictated by the Community Reinvestment Act. I don't blame the poor, they were just taking the money that the Dodd and Frank threw at them. Dodd and Frank thought this was a swell way to move votes to the Democratic party. They got the votes, (Obama got the donations) and we all got stuck holding the bag.

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Those $600,000 home values don't slide if Dodd and Frank don't push Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to cover the mortgages dictated by the Community Reinvestment Act. I don't blame the poor, they were just taking the money that the Dodd and Frank threw at them. Dodd and Frank thought this was a swell way to move votes to the Democratic party. They got the votes, (Obama got the donations) and we all got stuck holding the bag.

Yeah, nice job getting back on topic.

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I love the vibe I get from this article. Anytime Hartford and Economic powerhouse are used together is a wonderful thing.

Hartford Courant

courant.com/community/news/hfd/hc-hartford-transit-hub-olberst.artmay11,0,864956.story

Courant.com

HIGH-SPEED RAIL

Rail Commuter Line Would be Perfect Fit

By DON STACOM

The Hartford Courant

May 11, 2009

Hartford is poised to become an economic powerhouse for New England by substantially expanding Bradley International Airport's business, but it will need trains as much as planes, according to the veteran U.S. representative who is shaping federal transportation policy this year.

"Bradley could pull in a lot of those short-haul flights going to New York and Boston's airports, but only if you have high-speed trains to get people to New York and Boston," Minnesota Rep. James Oberstar, chairman of the House transportation committee, said Friday morning after touring Bradley and Hartford's Union Station.

Oberstar is about to draft a multiyear, $400 billion to $450 billion federal transportation bill, and he said the long-stalled New Haven-to-Springfield commuter rail project would be a natural fit for the kind of overhauled transit system that he envisions for America.

Appearing with Oberstar, U.S. Rep. John Larson, D-1st District, said New England needs to look to large-scale, visionary plans to drive economic revival.

"I want you to think big," Oberstar told state transportation officials, who briefed him on what Amtrak, Connecticut and Massachusetts will need to establish commuter service on the 62-mile route.

Oberstar sees that as just part of a more ambitious project: creating European-quality high-speed rail between Boston, Hartford and New York. The result, he said, would be to transform the region, with potentially huge number of fliers

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I am tempted to call that guys office and thank him for his vision. maybe plug the waterbury line while I am at it.

MN is building rail like mad right now and I am guessing this guy has something to do with it.

I read that the Amsterdam flight created $37 million in direct and indirect economic impact to the region.

If building the commuter rail connects the airport to 2-3 million potential customers and leads to the addition of 20 or so short hops, I am guessing the local impact would be well into the hundreds of millions. If this increased connecting traffic and service area existed it would make international again more viable further compounding the economic impact.

Think about it, if business people could walk from their corporate office in Asylum Hill or Main Street to the train station and be off to anywhere in the world in an hour Hartford would suddenly emerge on the radar of corporate relocation.

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I am tempted to call that guys office and thank him for his vision. maybe plug the waterbury line while I am at it.

MN is building rail like mad right now and I am guessing this guy has something to do with it.

I read that the Amsterdam flight created $37 million in direct and indirect economic impact to the region.

If building the commuter rail connects the airport to 2-3 million potential customers and leads to the addition of 20 or so short hops, I am guessing the local impact would be well into the hundreds of millions. If this increased connecting traffic and service area existed it would make international again more viable further compounding the economic impact.

Think about it, if business people could walk from their corporate office in Asylum Hill or Main Street to the train station and be off to anywhere in the world in an hour Hartford would suddenly emerge on the radar of corporate relocation.

I totally agree. This guy is bringing some vision for the region and he's not even from the area. I only wish our politicians realized what potential Hartford really had to be a truly international city of commerce. I am so excited about the rail possibilities being tossed around right now and think that now is definitely the time to push for an East-West option as well. If you could connect that out to Providence, Hartford would be one of the best connected major job markets in the nation.

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As being in eastern Conn., I'd love to see an improved east-west connection via rail. It's about time. Not many good ways to get from one side the state to the other.

I still can't believe this NB-Hart busway is still being a busway, and not a rail line as a part of a statewide network. Connect Waterbury, Bristol, NB, and Hartford all on one branch. Hell, why not go all the way to Danbury and beyond? The future is in the rails, not I-84.

Edited by Lowerdeck

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New England really needs to get on the ball as it relates to regional interstate transportation planning.

Boston Globe

Planners also want funding to add trains on Amtrak's so-called inland route between Boston and New York via Hartford, connecting Worcester and Framingham directly with New York.

"That's where the people are," said McCluskey, who represents a suburban Hartford district.

If the Obama administration gets its way, the grants awarded this year will not be the last chance for federal money. The administration has said the $8 billion, which will be awarded via competitive grants, is only a "down payment" on a national network, and has requested an additional $5 billion over the next five years. Detailed guidelines for distributing the money will be released in June.

Rob Kulat, a spokesman for the Federal Railroad Administration, said he could not comment on New England's plans but praised efforts in California and the Midwest. He said states that lacked shovel-ready projects would be encouraged to apply for money to conduct planning.

"They can apply for a planning grant, which would help them with the environmental reviews or whatever kind of planning they need," he said.

Former Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis, a longtime supporter of improved rail service, said regional leaders need to step up their efforts if New England is to win a significant portion of the money, but he also expressed sympathy for state governments that were seemingly caught off guard by the unexpectedly large infusion of support for projects that until recently had seemed out of reach.

"The states have to get cracking," Dukakis said. "In fairness to them, nobody anticipated this until Obama came along."

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Good article on just one of the many obstacles for rail.

http://www.slate.com/id/2218394/

Stop This Train!

Are trains slower now than they were in the 1920s?

By Tom Vanderbilt

Posted Friday, May 15, 2009, at 12:22 PM ET

Quick: Can you think of a technology that has regressed since the early 20th century? Technological progress is usually considered a given. Think of the titters when you see Michael Douglas in Wall Street walking on the beach with a bricklike mobile phone. Then, it was thrilling, almost illicit-Gekko can call Bud Fox from the beach. Now, the average 12-year-old has a far superior phone: smaller, camera-equipped, location-aware, filled with games and a library of music, and so on. We've seen vast improvements in just a few decades, which means the gulf between now and, say, the 1920s seems almost unimaginable. There is at least one technology in America, however, that is worse now than it was in the early 20th century: the train.

Edited by Theophrastus Bombastus

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Windsor Locks would be crazy not to do that. People will have to switch from train to bus to get to the airport. Having the train station downtown gives the potential that those people will spend time and money in town (the airport is state land). Otherwise, it's a wasted opportunity. Again, another dumb mistake in Connecticut transportation needs to be corrected.

Well I was Vague, the town is doing decently because of the airport and all those warehouses and distribution centers.

I think the state might also pay for extra infrastructure and such like it does in Hartford.

but if the train track in not extended to the airport as it SHOULD be, you are right as a transfer location downtown would be key.

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I really want this to get up and running ASAP. I'm glad it's finally a priority issue. This article explains how the state may make out very well by tapping into the high speed rail money from the feds and using it to get the line ready for commuter rail in addition to the high speed express corridor.

Hartford Courant

This year, President Barack Obama's administration helped kick-start the project again: Stimulus grants are paying hundreds of millions of dollars to rebuild Amtrak's shoreline bridges, perhaps freeing up money from Amtrak's budget to spend on the Hartford project. But the real carrot in the stimulus bill has nothing to do with commuter rail. Instead, it's a potential share of $8 billion allocated to build high-speed rail systems nationwide.

The federal government sees 110-mph trains phasing out some short-hop airline routes and relieving crowding at big-city airports. Rep. James Oberstar, D-Minn., outspoken chairman of the House transportation committee, envisions Hartford eventually becoming a transit center linking Boston, New York and Montreal by express trains. Also, if Logan and LaGuardia fliers could get home from Bradley on high-speed trains, many would start using Connecticut's airport instead, he says.

Most in-state commuters wouldn't ride the express trains, but they'd get a huge benefit from the service anyway. If federal stimulus money buys most of the infrastructure for 110-mph regional trains, Connecticut would get its new commuter rail system at a fraction of the cost

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It is great to see all of these mass transit articles today.

sadly it is likely due to the National Model Railroad convention ongoing in the city right now.

on a plus however it is another example of how the convention center has helped Hartford.

Edited by The Voice of Reason

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Here's the thing, I'm not the same-old same-old type guy. I don't expect things to always take forever, I want to slap the hell out of someone and get them to get their crap together.

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