Lamont In Bridgeport Rides Rails To Highlight Upgrades

Governor Ned Lamont at the Bridgeport Transportation Center. At left, State Senator Marilyn Moore, Mayor Joe Ganim. At right, State Rep. Chris Rosario who advocates a second city rail station on the East Side, and U.S Senator Richard Blumenthal.

Backed by construction trade unions, Governor Ned Lamont appeared at Bridgeport’s Transportation Center on Friday arriving by train from New Haven to highlight his pitch to finance rail improvements. What’s the best likely source of new revenue? Electronic tolls, something he’s pitched to the state legislature.

From Ken Dixon CT Post:

“I think the people behind me here remind you how important our transportation system–and upgrading how we get around this state–is,” Lamont said, stressing Bridgeport’s role as a regional hub. “If we can get this state moving again, we can get this state growing again.”

The governor embarked on the last car of the 8:19 out of Union Station in New Haven, slowly working his way forward, into a middle car during the 28-minute ride, which culminated in a cheerleading news conference led by Mayor Joe Ganim in the city’s Transportation Center.

United States Sen. Richard Blumenthal said that transportation funding has essentially been frozen in the myriad controversies in Washington. “The federal government is failing you,” he said. “It is failing all of us. It is failing to provide the investment in rail, roads, bridges, airports, VA facilities, schools. It is failing every state, not just Connecticut.”

Lamont predicted noticeable improvements in mass transit over the next four years, particular if Congress and the president can finally get together on a national infrastructure program. During the 15-minute news conference, none of the speakers mentioned the word “tolls”–which Lamont hopes to be a major source of revenue, up to $800 million a year–until a reporter asked the governor.

Full story here.

News release from Lamont:

Governor Ned Lamont today said that the New Haven Line, which connects rail commuters in areas along the southwestern Connecticut coast from New Haven to New York City, is a critical resource in the region and for the sake of the state’s future and the thousands of jobs it supports, it needs to be maintained and fully modernized in order to best capitalize on the economic benefits it can provide Connecticut residents.

Speaking early this morning with a group of transit advocates who joined together for a rally in support of the state’s rail system at the Bridgeport Transportation Center, Governor Lamont explained that while rail lines throughout the world have been taking advantage of the latest technologies that improve speed and safety, trains on the New Haven Line are now moving at speeds that are slower than they were even decades ago, due in part to speed restrictions as a result of the aging tracks and bridges along the corridor.

“The New Haven Line is a gem of a resource that hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents depend on for their livelihoods, and for the sake of our economy we cannot let it fall into a state of disrepair,” Governor Lamont said. “Our aging infrastructure is slowing our state’s transportation system down and causing significant congestion–and it’s impacting us economically. Connecticut residents spend 81,845 hours stuck in traffic annually. This damages our reputation and impacts the decisions businesses make when they are considering locations for growth. In order to get Connecticut growing again, we need to get Connecticut moving again.”

The New Haven Line is the busiest commuter rail line in America. Ridership over the last several years has continued to steadily climb. In 2016, it hit a peak with a total of 40.5 million passenger trips during the year, and the numbers have continued to hold steady since.

Over the last decade, the state has made hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of investments in the rail line, including $128 million to replace the overhead, catenary power lines as part of an overall $488 million power line replacement program to improve service and reliability. The state has also recently made upgrades to platforms and amenities at various stations along the line, including in Noroton Heights, Darien, and Stamford. The most notable investment over the last decade has been putting into service over 400 new, state-of-the-art M8 railcars, which replaced the nearly 40-year-old railcars that had long outlived their service lives.

The New Haven Line is owned by the State of Connecticut and operated by Metro-North Railroad under contract with the Connecticut Department of Transportation. In addition to its main corridor from New Haven to New York City, it also consists of three branch lines to New Canaan, Danbury, and Waterbury. It is the oldest of Connecticut’s three commuter rail lines. Shore Line East operates along the southeastern Connecticut coast, serving points between New Haven and New London. The Hartford Line, which opened for service in June 2018, serves the central Connecticut corridor from points between New Haven, Hartford, and Springfield, Massachusetts.

Funding Connecticut’s transportation system
With gasoline taxes, which serve as the primary source of funding for the state’s transportation system, delivering less dollars, budget analysts for years have been warning that Connecticut’s transportation fund–along with a number of other states throughout the country–is on track to become insolvent unless a new revenue structure is created.

Governor Lamont said that he does not support raising the gasoline tax, which he believes is already too high, nor the use of “priority bonding” that would borrow to support transportation funding and add to the state’s debt.

In his budget address earlier this month, the governor began a discussion with the legislature on returning tolls to Connecticut, which had been removed in 1985. Connecticut is one of only two states on the eastern portion of the country that does not have a system of tolling to support its transportation system.

Governor Lamont put forward two options–one that would toll only trucks and could generate $200 million annually if applied to all of the state’s major highways, and a second option that would apply to both trucks and cars, and generate $800 million annually, under which Connecticut drivers who frequently travel on major roadways in the state would receive a maximized discount.

Estimates say that about 40 percent of tolling revenue for Connecticut could come from out-of-state drivers. “We foot the bill when we travel through neighboring states, it’s time out-of-state drivers do the same for Connecticut,” Governor Lamont told lawmakers during his budget address.

The proposals are currently being considered by the General Assembly.



  1. The next Mayor of Chicago will be a first ever Black woman. Both Lightfoot and Perwinkle will go to an April 26th run-off.

    I can’t find one word where Paul Vallas ranked out of fourteen candidates. I guess Dennis Bradley wasn’t handsome enough to help Vallas get across the finishline. LOL!

      1. Looks like Paul Vallas finished 9 out of 14.
        The Charter $school industry must be in tears. Those poor white millionaires and billionaires have to look for another pot of gold.

    1. The racial makeup of Chicago is over 60% black and Hispanic and Dennis Bradley couldn’t influence those two voting group to vote for Paul Vallas. The Chicago’s mayoral race had a very low voter turnout of 33% with the two top candidates who will be in the runoff with Lori Lightfoot having won 17.48% of the vote and Toni Preckwinkle had 15.96% and with such low numbers Dennis Bradley couldn’t make his looks to convince voters to vote for Vallas and we all his words had no meaning because they don’t mean anything here.

      1. The Chicago mayoral race will be decided by the people of the South and West sides of the Windy City, the black neighborhoods. They have been dealing with the violence and neglect more than the rich folks on the Gold Coast.

  2. So the city gets the ok to build this train stop, now after it’s in place how does the East Side businesses and residents benefit from this train station? Commuters will drive park take the train and drive back to where they came from so how does the East Side benefit?

  3. “I think the people behind me here remind you how important our transportation system – and upgrading how we get around this state – is,” Lamont said, stressing Bridgeport’s role as a regional hub. “If we can get this state moving again, we can get this state growing again.”

    “Regional hub,” in regard to Bridgeport, is state/Gold Coast code for “exploit Bridgeport labor and infrastructure in order to maintain Gold Coast lifestyle and tax-base advantages… Import labor from Bridgeport/Greater Bridgeport in order to avoid the expense and social issues involved with hosting all of the necessary workforce housing in Stamford, Greenwich, New Canaan, Norwalk, et al…” (Jim Himes loves to speak about the regional plan that he backs to make Bridgeport THE “housing hub” for the region, which is just slick, Gold-Coast code for “let them pay for all the workforce needs, and deal with all of the problems” for “the region,” i.e., Gold Coast/suburbs. Keep in mind that lower-income housing, per Bridgeport as “housing hub” is “negative” tax base that costs much more to host than it can pay in taxes… This regional, housing-hub plan doesn’t provide for the drastic increase in the high-value-tax-base business sector that is needed to support the municipal/social needs of all of the families that represent the “regional labor force” that isn’t mentioned as the core meaning of “housing hub”…)

    Build more workforce housing in Bridgeport — that they’ll have to deal with — and even throw in a second train station (and more highway connectors through Bridgeport neighborhoods) to facilitate commuting from the Greater Bridgeport area to the Stamford area/down county, and make “them” (stupid Bridgeporters) think that these things will somehow bring back the Bridgeport economy.

    Commuting workers from outside of Bridgeport won’t spend money in Bridgeport — they’ll be in a hurry to get t work in Stamford/the Gold Coast and get home (to Stratford, Milford, et al.). The low-wage Bridgeport-based workers won’t have the disposable income to support a Bridgeport business sector large enough to support the needs of the regional workforce housed here. Viable cities — like Stamford — have huge commercial tax bases supporting minimal residential needs… That is why Stamford is a “nice” city that Greenwich and New Canaanites are willing to frequent and otherwise accommodate… There cannot be two “Stamfords” in our small region — that is why Bridgeport has been designated to accommodate the region’s housing and transportation infrastructure but isn’t allowed to have the commercial sector that would require the local labor that now represents the region’s commuting labor force… Tie-up Bridgeport labor for a large, local business sector, and force Stamford/the Gold Coast to accommodate a local labor force and all of its costs/social problems… Better to “import” labor and send it home at night — by I-95 and rail (second train station in Bridgeport…).

    The “region” won’t complain too much about throwing us (an inadequate amount) of state aid for our schools etc., as long as we continue to allow ourselves to be exploited in this manner — as long as our elected officials continue their complicity in this scheme and remain silent in Hartford and DC in this regard… (Watch the Gold Coast make sure that HB 7055 dies before it can reach the Governor’s desk…)

    Bridgeport will never thrive as long as we are forced to serve as the “housing hub” for the Gold Coast… We need to invert the Bridgeport economic equation by creating a large-enough business sector to sustain local employment needs — such that we generate a positive tax-base number when real numbers are substituted for all of the variables in the Bridgeport municipal-budget/Bridgeport-economy equation…

    Right now, Stamford has a population of about 130,000 and a grand list of about $20 billion — with the vast majority of that in business-sector value… (Their mil rate is in the mid-20’s…). Bridgeport has about 150,000 people and a grand list of barely $7 billion — with the vast majority of that grand list in the residential sector and with the business-sector taxes mostly in the (essentially jobless/overall-tax-base devaluing) regional-power-supply infrastructure sector (power plants, substations/supply-line trunks — largely on or near our waterfront and downtown areas…).

    Bridgeport will not be a viable city again until, and unless it inverts it economic equation to look much more like Stamford’s… That won’t happen if let snake-oil salesmen come to our city and tell us that our problems will be solved by filling up our empty spaces (especially in our downtown) with housing and additional train stations…

    When Ned talks manufacturing, high-value retail, and high-value entertainment (casino) for Bridgeport — that’s when I’d be willing to greet him at the train station!… (Not before.)

    1. You know this routine, the “Gold Coast exploiting the cheap labor pool in Bridgeport” shtick is getting old. What would you do to remedy the situation? You lost a mayoral primary or two. What would you as a private citizen do to remedy this inequality of wealth and social standing?

  4. On topic: where do the concrete, steel, construction oil, union, auto and AAA lobbyists stand on spending real money-not chump change, on a dedicated bike trail in Bridgeport to take cars off the road?

  5. Where do you think, Bob?! Do you see any indication that development policy is being at all affected by the “radical” ideas of walkable or bikable workforce-location planning — planning business locations proximal to workforces, as was standard during the Industrial Revolution. Those ideas don’t accommodate the new, “transit-oriented development” (sheek) trend of locating workforces as far as possible from their jobs… Part of the elitist strategy of keeping certain municipalities exclusively zoned (e.g., Gold Coast) such that lucrative tax base (business) is hogged and workforce housing/workforce municipal services can be foisted on poorer, outlying munipalities…

  6. Bingo Jeff
    It’s all in the Zoning!

    And to answer my own question: the aforementioned industries and lobby’s don’t lobby for bike paths because they don’t make money on bikes. A real Proletarian issue.


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