Analysis: State money goes to rail stations, not safety
Posted in the Trumbull Forum
#1 Mar 9, 2014
Connecticut has poured billions into the Metro-North Railroad system over the last 30 years, but most of that spending purchased sleek new train stations and parking garages instead of critical safety improvements.
Since 1985, Connecticut spent $442 million on train station improvements, more than twice as much as the $206 million spent to upgrade vital power and signal systems, according to a Hearst Connecticut Media analysis of data provided by the state.
The state spent $344 million repairing railroad tracks --$100 million less than what was spent on train stations -- numbers from the Office of Fiscal Analysis show.
"This shows a dramatic shortchanging of the rail line," said Senate Minority Leader John McKinney, R-Fairfield and a candidate for governor. "The state has lacked a long-term vision, and that's why we are in the position we are in. Legislators fight for parochial concerns. I don't think the state has invested enough in infrastructure."
An earlier Hearst review of voting patterns revealed that state lawmakers on both sides of the aisle consistently cut funding for key transportation projects even as they blamed Metro-North Railroad for performance failures and other problems.
Metro-North over the last year has been beset by a blizzard of problems, including a train jumping broken tracks and colliding with an oncoming engine in Bridgeport, and massive disruptions in the electrical system that powers trains.
Riders were recently left shivering in the cold when power went out and during an earlier incident most of the system was shut down for nearly two weeks when a Con Edison power station failed.
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