(Hartford, CT) – U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, Scott Greene, Chief of the Federal Railroad Administration’s Freight Rail Policy Division, and the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut convened today with Southeastern Connecticut business leaders to discuss the region’s freight rail needs and priorities. At the event, Blumenthal advocated for a national freight policy and continued federal investment in Eastern Connecticut.
The listening session was part of a series hosted by Blumenthal to bring FRA leaders to the state to hear firsthand Connecticut’s rail needs, priorities and concerns.
On Monday, the U.S. Department of Transportation officially obligated all $8.2 million in Transportation Investment Generation Economic Recovery (TIGER) funds to the Connecticut Department of Transportation to upgrade the New England Central Rail (NECR) line. The competitive grant, first announced last September, will substantially expand freight rail capacity in the region, connecting New London, Norwich, Willimantic and Stafford up to the Canadian border, creating the first and only north-south heavy freight rail corridor in the state.
“A robust, reliable freight rail system is vital to the growth of the Southeastern Connecticut economy, and the substantial TIGER award and expansion of the New England Central Railroad line will be a game changer for the region. Given the critical role that freight rail plays in the region, it is imperative that the FRA hear directly from the business and municipal leaders who rely so directly on those systems,” Blumenthal said.