Blumenthal: FRA administrator nominee should 'disavow' Old Lyme rail proposal

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said that if Ronald L. Batory is confirmed to lead the Federal Railroad Administration, he must "explicitly disavow" a proposal to route train tracks through the center of Old Lyme.

“If confirmed, Ron Batory will be tasked with bringing our country’s aging rail network into the 21st century — an immense responsibility with tremendous opportunity to support job growth and economic development in Connecticut and nationwide," Blumenthal said in a written statement. "When he comes before the Commerce Committee, I will seek firm, specific commitments from him with regards to rail safety and reliability, including assurances that he will ensure on-time nationwide installation of life-saving Positive Train Control technology. The deadline for implementation of PTC is now just a year and a half away and the need for leadership at FRA could not be more urgent."

"Batory must also explicitly disavow the harmful and impractical FRA proposal to plow new train tracks through historic towns like Old Lyme and parts of Fairfield County and Southwestern Connecticut," Blumenthal added. "Those deeply problematic portions of the FRA’s NEC FUTURE plan must be scrapped while maintaining the FRA’s reasonable and responsible commitment to enhancing service throughout the Metro-North system and along the Hartford-Springfield line. I look forward to continued close collaboration with the FRA on efforts to enhance rail service and safety in Connecticut and nationwide.”

The FRA had issued in Dec. 2016 a Tier 1 Final Environmental Impact Statement, a proposal for future rail improvements to the Northeast Corridor, that included a new rail route between Old Saybrook and Kenyon, R.I. The FRA said the next step is to issue a Record of Decision.

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