HARTFORD – State Representative Rosa C. Rebimbas (R-Naugatuck), co-chair of the Waterbury Railway Caucus, along with co-chairs State Senators Joan Hartley (D – Waterbury, Middlebury, Naugatuck) and George Logan (R – Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Bethany, Derby, Hamden, Naugatuck, Woodbridge), joined other area legislators in a meeting with CT DOT Commissioner James Redeker at the Capitol on Monday, May 7th, 2018.
“We had a productive meeting and I look forward to seeing what our caucus can accomplish together,” Rep. Rebimbas said. “We conveyed our ideas and concerns to the Commissioner, and expressed our strong desire to see major improvements to the rail line. As the population grows in this part of the state, the need for reliable public transportation will only increase. We are trying to get that process moving now so we can avoid major congestion issues in the future.”
The Railway Caucus has been tasked with advocating for improvements to the Waterbury Line, which services Naugatuck Valley. The bipartisan caucus believes that transportation improvements will lead to economic growth in the region, but has recognized a number of issues that must be addressed. Issues include limited service, increased ridership, single track, dated equipment and lack of station amenities. In addition, a growing population will put additional stress on existing infrastructure. Goals include replacing diesel locomotives, replacing aging train-sets and coaches, increasing service frequency and improving station amenities. Proponents are confident that these improvements will spur economic development, revitalize town centers, increase property values, decrease congestion, improve traffic conditions, create a more efficient freight system, and improve health and safety.
“Modernizing this railway is the key to reviving our regional economy,” Rep. Rebimbas added. “It will help our small businesses, assist our commuters and help alleviate stress on our highways. In order for that to happen, we need to make the line work for those who would use it by providing in-demand services, and reliable technology and infrastructure. I thank the Commissioner for his time and look forward to working with him moving forward.”
The 2018 Session of the Connecticut General Assembly will adjourn May 9th, 2018. A vote on the FY 2019 budget is expected, and members of the Waterbury Line Caucus are hoping that the final spending and revenue plan includes funding for improvements. Also in attendance at the meeting were Reps. Ben McGorty (R-Shelton, Stratford, Trumbull), Nicole Klarides-Ditria (R-Beacon Falls, Derby, Seymour), Stephanie Cummings (R-Waterbury), Larry Butler (D-Waterbury), Tony D’Amelio (R-Waterbury, Middlebury), Dave Labriola (R-Naugatuck, Oxford, Southbury), and Jason Periollo (R-Shelton).