ANSONIA, Conn. — Connecticut residents can expect roads, bridges and rail to see significant upgrades after Congress approved the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package last Friday.
Once President Biden signs off, the state will be on its way making the changes over the next decade, Gov. Ned Lamont announced.
The governor and other state leaders visited the Ansonia railroad station Monday to discuss how the Waterbury Branch of the Metro-North Railroad New Haven Line will improve.
The federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will mean at least $30 billion for rail upgrades throughout the northeast corridor.
Ansonia's mayor can't wait.
"We want additional stops," Mayor David Cassetti (R-Ansonia) said. "We want improvements in the train station. We have 400 luxury apartments going in right across the street on the other side of this building."
It's coming, according to Lamont.
"A year from now or less than a year from now, we’re going to have two-way service and those cars going back and forth, those trains are going to be much more frequent than they are today," he said.
New rail station platforms are part of the plan between Waterbury and Bridgeport, as well as better rail cars that are scheduled to be in service within several years.
Officials say this is great news for many blue-collar workers who rely on trains for work.
"I remember talking to one young man who worked for a barbershop in Bridgeport, and he left money on the table because there wasn’t a train late enough for him to stay on the job and get those last few appointments done," U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) said.
These investments will leverage transit-oriented development in communities from Waterbury down through the valley to Bridgeport, officials said.
"We had a briefing a couple of weeks ago with the governor and we outlined the 800 units of housing and 30 new commercial spaces built in downtown Shelton in anticipation of this rail," Bill Purcell, president of the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce added.
The Waterbury Branch is a 27-mile-long, single-track line with six train stations in Waterbury, Naugatuck, Beacon Falls, Seymour, Ansonia and Derby. By adding an additional track, service will increase on the branch to 22 trains each weekday beginning in the summer of 2022.
The project was funded by $1.23 million in state funding that will match federal dollars.
Lamont said the investments will help advance his administration’s Time for CT initiative, which delivers a roadmap to bring faster and more frequent train service between Connecticut and New York. Additionally, the Northeast Corridor Commission’s CONNECT NEC 2035 (C35) initiative, aims to improve rail throughout the Northeast.
"Right now, for me to drive to Washington, DC takes the exact same amount of time that it takes for me to hop on a train," U.S. Rep. Jahana Hayes (D-Connecticut) said. "That is unacceptable in 2021."
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