Federal Officials, Finch Praise $10 Million Grant For Second Train Station

From left, Mayor Bill Finch, Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy and Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration Sarah Feinberg meet near the future site of Barnum Station. CT Post photo Ned Gerard.
From left, Mayor Bill Finch, Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, U.S. Rep. Jim Himes, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy and Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration Sarah Feinberg meet near the future site of Barnum Station. CT Post photo Ned Gerard.

U.S. Federal Railroad Administration Administrator Sarah Feinberg joined Mayor Bill Finch and congressional representatives on Monday to celebrate the awarding of a $10 million grant to plan a new rail station on the city’s East Side serving both Metro-North and Amtrak trains. Mayor-elect Joe Ganim who attended the announcement says he supports the project. For background see here. CT Post reporter Brian Lockhart has more here

Finch had proposed a second train station for the city to the state which made application for the competitive Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant.

Feinberg and Finch, who arrived late to the event, were joined by Congressman Jim Himes and U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy.

train station rendering
Rendering of East Side train station.

For Finch it’s a sweet and sour moment as his eight-year mayoralty comes to a close in three weeks. He pushed for Barnum Station station to complement the Steel Point redevelopment area of the East Side featuring mega outdoor retailer Bass Pro shops as the anchor tenant scheduled to open next week. City development chief David Kooris stated at an announcement in the summer of 2014 that a fully functional train station, albeit years away from completion, would cost $50 million, but other estimates are closer to $150 million.

Standing at the proposed site of the new station, officials praised the cooperation between local, state and federal government that allowed Bridgeport to win the competitive grant process.

“This award is a game changer for the East Side and East End of Bridgeport–bringing new commuter rail service that will catalyze development and investment in not only those neighborhoods, but the city as a whole,” said Blumenthal in a statement. “In addition to serving as an anchor for major mixed-use, transit-oriented development in Bridgeport, the station will expand options for commuters throughout the region, offering much-needed express and local service along the nation’s busiest commuter rail corridor. TIGER grants are highly competitive awards that inject major federal investment in state and local transportation priorities. Past Connecticut projects, including Steelpointe in Bridgeport, have produced transformational economic development opportunities. I will continue to serve as a vocal and vigorous advocate for Connecticut’s TIGER applications, as well as for increased investment in transportation infrastructure nationwide.”

“The new Barnum train station could really be ground-breaking for Bridgeport, and I’m thrilled that we are able to deliver this sizable grant to help make this station a reality,” said Murphy. “This project will give travelers more options, but more importantly, help revitalize the eastern section of the city. I was proud to work with city leaders to advocate for this support from Washington. Connecting our communities is a critical step in growing Connecticut’s economy, and this is exactly the kind of federal-state partnership we need to make our state a more accessible, appealing place for students, residents, and businesses.”

“The ongoing rejuvenation of Bridgeport is critical to its citizens and to the economic health of our region,” said Himes. “Barnum station will eventually host retail stores, housing and critical transportation options. It will transform a bleak and neglected neighborhood into a vibrant source of opportunity for the people of Bridgeport. I am proud of the work that my office did, in conjunction with local and state leaders and Senators Blumenthal and Murphy, to help secure this TIGER grant.”

“This is great news for our city and its future. Bridgeport’s new Barnum Train Station–the second rail stop in the state’s largest city–will serve as a much needed catalyst for job creation and economic growth,” said Finch in a statement. “With these TIGER Grant funds, we’ll be able to move this game-changing, job creating project forward. Thanks to Sen. Blumenthal, Sen. Murphy, Congressman Himes, and Gov. Malloy for their tireless work in helping our city with this project and others–making Bridgeport better every day.”



  1. Paging Jeff Kohut …
    Paging Jeff Kohut …
    Is Jeff all on board with this train station?
    Does he believe it will only be for inbound trains and no outbound trains to southwest Fairfield county will be allowed to stop there?

  2. How did that concept for Fairfield work out? Office building right at the train station so people could hop off their train and be at their desks in minutes flat.

  3. What a waste of $10 million, this will never come to fruition, and it shouldn’t, this city needs JOBS, not train stations. The idea this train station will bring job creation and economic growth is ridiculous. Maybe the employees of GE will use the station … err, that’s right, one of this region’s largest employers is leaving soon, Malloy chased them out.

    1. Harvey Weintraub, transit-oriented development has worked well in Chicago and its suburbs especially well–both in the city and in the ‘burbs. It’s worked well in many places in Boston and ‘burbs, though the Fairmont line is an exception requiring more concentrated marketing by Boston and Massachusetts governments. It’s worked well in parts of the Tri-State. I think it’ll work well at Barnum. Watch and wait.

  4. $10 million is extremely high for a planning grant. But a train station with an Amtrak stop will incentivize development. Historically, new train stations have spurred economic development. The train station in Black Rock, though a disappointment, also has brought some wealth to the area, I believe, especially in Black Rock. It will attract a middle class and young professionals and provide a service to low- and moderate-income people who cannot afford cars to get to work and will take traffic off the highway thus relieving congestion and reducing pollution. I worry about the price tag. Saying trains are good is a truism such as like saying education is good then making a pork barrel industry out of it as has been done.

  5. I think Fairfield Metro would have been more disastrous if the office buildings as designed would have been built. The original design became outdated before the train station opened. Companies are not using large footprints anymore. A million square feet would have been hard to fill.

  6. This is a TIGER grant. The TIGER grant that the city received for Steal Point required approximately a 50/50 match. At Steel point the developer refused to come up with a dime so the city had to bond for the match.
    Can anyone tell me does this required a match? Is the city going to step in and use taxpayers’ money over 20 years to match this ‘grant?’

  7. Mr. Davidoff,
    Since you are a believer in ‘transit-oriented development,’ why have we not seen any development downtown where the city’s ONLY train station is?

  8. Lennie, is there information about the proposed train station other than press releases, newspaper stories and blog postings? Has the CT DOT provided any site maps or assessment of the need for this station? Does it incorporate the rail yard at the northern end of Union Avenue?

  9. There are a lot of questions about what buildings will be saved at Remington. The rendering shows them as rehabilitated. One of the most significant architectural landmarks in Bridgeport and the State: the Shot Tower? These buildings are assets.

  10. Bob , Bob and Doug,
    First, Jeff Kohut is not going to be a happy camper. Joe Ganim is a very astute Mayor-elect. He was not born yesterday and even though his supporters were very critical of Mayor Finch, most business people and developers see another train station as not only a key to stimulate development in the area, but a great marketing tool for Bridgeport. I a very pleased he will be supportive.

    I agree with Doug 100 percent on his post. The Barnum station will open the East Main corridor. Bob Walsh, when will you just stop being a noodge! As the Downtown gets re-developed under yet another administration with 1000 units of housing, our downtown train will become even more in demand. There are so many young people moving downtown, you can feel the energy.

    I commend Mayor Finch for his vision of another train station and I am confident Mayor-elect Joseph Ganim will see this and many projects through to fruition. I will support Joe Ganim and I believe he will succeed. I hope we all give him a chance to succeed without attacking every misstep. The campaigning is over. He ran, he won and he must succeed. We must all band together for the future of our city.

    Bob Halstead, I totally agree. There are some buildings very worthy of saving and the shot tower would definitely be one of them!

  11. From what I read, Joe Ganim and Danny Roach were at this event. Bill Finch wouldn’t talk to Ganim, claiming “I try to avoid associating with known felons” or some such spittle. Hard to understand what he said, the sour grapes in his mouth caused him to mumble.

    This is a GRANT, people, not money from the city’s coffers. Rail transit is the way to go. Harvey is correct in the comparison to Chicago, home of Union Station, THE busiest rail hub in North America if not the world. With all the congestion on I-95, the Merritt Parkway, Route 8 and the secondary surface streets through town, an alternate method of transportation is sorely needed. Hark, the railroad, a concept that has been around since the nineteenth century. Oh my God, why did no one think of it sooner? Guess the waterslides-for-urban-youth idea was a bigger priority for Bill Finch and his shiny white conspirators at 999 Broad Street.

    To his credit, Finch did move the city forward in many ways. Ganim seized the land for Steal Point. Eminent Domain is an evil thing. For him to take credit for the development is plain wrong. The property and the contracts were bunged up in Superior Court for years because of his greed and avarice. As long as Little Joe is on the straight and narrow and takes up the baton to keep the project moving forward, he may earn at least a modicum of forgiveness.

    Paul Timpanelli will probably find a comfortable no-show job at BRBC for Finch, something that won’t chip his nails or cause calluses.


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