As published in the Record Journal Wednesday August 18, 2010
By Sean W. Moore
August 17, 2010 is a day that will go down in economic development history as the Governor’s Bond Commission approved a number of transportation related items and in particular Item Number 15.
The $260 million of funds will finance the costs associated with improvements necessary to implement commuter rail service on the 62 mile corridor between New Haven and Springfield, Massachusetts. In addition, this commitment demonstrates to the federal government that Connecticut has put up our fair share to compete on a multi-state project for the economic stimulus funds for High Speed and Inter-City Service.
Now that’s regionalism.
All of us in central Connecticut will be the beneficiaries of these actions. As a Transportation Strategy Board member, it is exciting for me to see our long range proposals get funded. As a chamber of commerce president, it is great to see additional affordable choices for workers and visitors to commute to fabulous sites in central Connecticut and beyond. As a resident, it’s great to see the opportunity for businesses to grow and to share the tax burden with the homeowners and personal property taxpayers.
The specific projected benefits are to reduce the number of vehicles on roads by approximately 4,000 cars each day and to generate close to 4,000 jobs. It is expected to save 1 billion gallons of fossil fuel annually and to reduce carbon emissions by over 10,000 tons a year.
This vision creates fabulous opportunities for transit-oriented development (TOD) within the half mile radius of improved rail stations along the line with parking and other necessary TOD amenities. Meriden will benefit from the Inter-City rail service as with Wallingford and Berlin benefiting from convenient commuter rail stops. We can connect our walking trails and local bus services with our downtowns and create livable and workable destinations in central Connecticut. We have a real opportunity here to create something.
I’d like to thank Governor Rell, Speaker Donovan and all of our legislative delegation for their long-range approach to economic development. Let’s get to work NOW! (For more details about the project, you can visit www.NHHSrail.com)
Sean W. Moore is the President of the Greater Meriden Chamber of Commerce .
His commentary is part of an occasional series entitled “ View from Colony Street. ”