(Hartford, CT) –U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) announced today that he will chair a field hearing of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation subcommittee on Surface Transportation and Merchant Marine Infrastructure, Safety and Security Monday, October 28 on the recent Metro-North power outage. The hearing will examine the causes of the outage, how to prevent such failures from reoccurring, and the economic impact of such a major service disruption.
The hearing will take place from 10 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in the City Council Chambers of Bridgeport City Hall at 45 Lyon Terrace. Blumenthal will host a media availability immediately following the hearing at 12:20 p.m.
Among those testifying at the hearing include ConEdison President Craig Ivey, MTA Metro-North Railroad President Howard Permut, John Hartwell of the Connecticut Rail Commuter Council, Amtrak President and CEO Joseph Boardman, and Otto Lynch from the American Society of Civil Engineers and Joseph McGee of the Business Council of Fairfield County. U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Congressman Jim Himes (D-4) and Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty (D-5) will also testify.
Blumenthal has called the disruption unacceptable and inexcusable, and has demanded that New York-based utility ConEdison be held accountable for the lack of adequate contingency plans for such a power failure. He has joined Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) in calling on the federal Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability and the New York Public Service Commission to conduct an investigation into the cable failure. Blumenthal has also advocated for increased investment in rail and transportation infrastructure.
“Significant investment in our rail infrastructure is vital to stopping more severe service disruptions – repeated breakdowns becoming the new normal, discouraging reliance on rail, pushing more cars onto our crowded highways, and limiting job growth as companies elect to locate elsewhere. This is simply unacceptable,” Blumenthal said. “This hearing is an important first step in determining the cause of this latest failure, and in considering future measures and investments in our rail system. ConEd and others must be held accountable—including compensating commuters for the hardships they have endured, but we must also hold Congress accountable for making the public investments necessary for the long term viability and reliability of our transportation systems. Such investments have been woefully inadequate for far too long,” Blumenthal said.