WATERBURY, Conn. — Commuters on the Metro-North's Waterbury Branch of the New Haven line asked Connecticut leaders for better train service.
Governor Ned Lamont and state leaders visited Waterbury and called on state lawmakers Wednesday to fund more improvements on the rail line.
“We got to make it easier for you to get to and from,” Governor Lamont said. “You don’t have to be in New York City or Stamford every day, but maybe you’d like to be able to get there easier maybe once or twice a week.”
Commuters on the Waterbury line had asked for parking, new train schedules, substitute bus service and rail improvements. The Governor asked the Connecticut General Assembly Wednesday to approve a budget that will allow for better train service in Waterbury.
“That’s why this entire valley we open it up with two-way rail service,” Governor Lamont said.
Metro-North added two late-night weekend trains to the Waterbury branch recently, but some state leaders say that more needs to be done.
“Transportation is the backbone of our economy and by investing and modernizing our transportation infrastructure, we can better connect our residents to their workplace, the classroom, and to their friends and family,” said Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz.
Mayor Neil Michael O’Leary said the Waterbury rail line has been and remains one of the highest priorities for Waterbury and communities across the Naugatuck Valley.
The Lamont administration also took the chance to promote the Transportation and Climate Initiative Program known as TCI. It's aimed at reducing carbon emissions and investing in clean energy infrastructure through an additional tax on gas.
“It will put a cap on greenhouse gas emissions from transportation fuels for the first time and it will generate about a billion dollars of revenue that we can invest in clean transportation solutions in the state of Connecticut,” said Department of Energy and Environmental Protection Commissioner Katie Dykes.
“Gasoline tax revenues are not on the upswing,” Governor Lamont said. “They’re on the downswing. We have some significant investments we need to make and I need TCI and the highway user fee, same as they got right in New York. It’s ways we can pay our fair share.”
State leaders also hope to increase the number of daily trains going through Waterbury from 15 to 22.
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