Old Lyme selectmen seek rail plan commenting extension, urge upgrades to existing line

Old Lyme — The Board of Selectmen is requesting an extension to the review period for a long-term proposal for the Northeast Corridor, which calls for a bypass between Old Saybrook and Kenyon, R.I., and also is advocating for upgrades to the existing rail line.

The selectmen unanimously voted in favor of a motion at their meeting Tuesday to recommend the Federal Railroad Administration extend the comment period by at least 30 days, given that they did not receive the final Environmental Impact Statement for the plan until right before the holidays.

Secondly, the selectmen urge the FRA to repair and maintain the existing railroad that runs through southeastern Connecticut, and said they oppose the bypass.

First Selectwoman Bonnie Reemsnyder said she would notify the plan's project manager about the selectmen's motion.

The website for the NEC FUTURE proposal says the 30-day waiting period for the public to review the plan, which was released on Dec. 16, will end on Jan. 31. The proposal recommends investments for improvements to travel time and capacity along the Northeast Corridor from Washington, D.C., to Boston.

Moving forward with the bypass, one component of the preferred alternative would require funding and support from the state and the state's congressional delegation, the FRA said when it released the plan.

Local and state officials have expressed opposition to the inclusion of the bypass in the FRA's preferred alternative. 

A team of experts has been working on the town's response to the plan, Reemsnyder said.

k.drelich@theday.com

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