It was proposed in 2014 under the mayoral administration of Bill Finch and then-Governor Dan Malloy during his reelection year, but the $300 million price tag for a second city train station on the East Side created questions about its viability.
City and state officials are trying to resurrect the project that the Connecticut Department of Transportation declared the state cannot afford.
News release from Mayor Joe Ganim and Bridgeport’s legislative delegation:
Mayor Joe Ganim and Bridgeport State Legislators today are reiterating their commitment to see the Barnum high-speed rail station built on the East Side of Bridgeport. With a recent news report that the Barnum train station project was deferred by the Connecticut Department of Transportation under former Governor Malloy due to an inability to secure financing for construction, Mayor Ganim joined several members of the Bridgeport legislative delegation as well as officials from the new administration of Governor Ned Lamont today for a conference call to reiterate the city’s commitment to seeing the station built.
“Having a high-speed rail station in Bridgeport is essential to making Governor Lamont’s vision of 30-minute rail travel between New Haven and Stamford become a reality,” said Mayor Ganim. “The Governor made a very strong statement the day he was inaugurated about investing in rail travel to improve Connecticut’s transportation infrastructure. We endorse this vision. The city and state have already invested millions to develop the area around the proposed Barnum Station in anticipation that this new station would be built. Major, new mixed income housing developments have been constructed nearby. We are preparing to clear a massive former industrial complex and remediate brownfields just across the street so new transit-oriented developments can move in. The East Side and other adjoining neighborhoods have gotten their hopes up about the possibility of a new rail station and are looking to us as leaders to make it happen.”
Mayor Ganim continued, “The regional council of governments, our federal partners and the private sector have all expressed an interest in contributing financing to build the new station. Making this a reality would benefit the economy of the entire Bridgeport region and the whole state of Connecticut. It can and should be built, and we are looking for a firm commitment from the state to make it happen. Even if we have to consider a redesign to bring down the price tag for construction, or partner with a private entity, we should explore all options that move the Barnum Station forward. I look forward to meeting with our legislators and the Lamont Administration to get this station back on track.”
“We understand the desire to advance the Barnum Station and will continue to work with the city and the General Assembly,” said CTDOT Commissioner Joseph J. Giulietti. “As we set priorities for the next few years, all of our rail facilities will be evaluated for future enhancement.”
The Barnum Station was originally proposed in 2014 by then Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy but since that time has not moved onto a list of projects ready for construction by the Connecticut Department of Transportation. A federal TIGER grant originally awarded for the train station in 2015 was rescinded at the end of 2016 by the Obama administration due to an inability by the State of Connecticut to provide financing to pay the cost of designing and building the station off Barnum Avenue. The Barnum Station price tag climbed from an original estimate of $48 Million to nearly $300 Million due to additional construction requirements imposed regional and national rail carriers.
Bridgeport State Legislative Delegation Chair Ezequiel Santiago (D-130), joined Representatives Chris Rosario (D-128), Steve Stafstrom (D-129), Charlie Stallworth (D-126), Andre Baker (D-124) and Jack Hennessy (D-127) to issue the following statement, “With a number of years in and extensive resources expended the Bridgeport delegation remains steadfastly in support of the Barnum train station and will continue to work to see it come to fruition. The city, governor and DOT are supportive and we will be meeting with all parties in the coming days to move this project forward.”
Bridgeport State Senator Dennis Bradley (D-23) whose district covers parts of Stratford and Bridgeport including where the Barnum Station is proposed to be built, said, “Bridgeport must have this Barnum commuter rail station. As the largest city in the state, we have a large amount of residents that need public transportation to provide for their families. We implore the Governor and Department of Transportation to make this a shovel-ready project.”
Bridgeport State Senator Marilyn Moore (D-22) said, “I believe Bridgeport is an important component of this administration’s vision for high speed travel in Connecticut. The state delegation is eager to work together to include Bridgeport as a part of that vision.”