February 13, 2019

Senators Join Constituents in Support of “Central Connecticut Loop Trail” Bill

photo of Senators Lesser and Abrams.

Today, State Senators Mary Daugherty Abrams (D-Meriden, Middlefield, Rockfall, Middletown, Cheshire), Matt Lesser (D-Middletown) and Norm Needleman (D-Essex) joined constituents at a Transportation Committee public hearing to support legislation that would not only create a new trail through their districts, but connect more than 100 miles of Connecticut trails.

The Transportation Committee’s Wednesday hearing concerned Senate Bill No. 775, “An Act Concerning the Creation of the Central Connecticut Loop Trail,” introduced by the three Senators. This legislation, if approved, would amend the general statutes to require the Commissioners of Transportation and Energy and Environmental Protection to jointly coordinate and authorize funding for the planning, designing and construction of a trail from East Hampton through Portland, Middletown, Meriden and Cheshire, facilitating multimodal access through the Meriden railroad station.

By creating that trail, the legislation would additionally create a new, longer trail, the “Central Connecticut Loop Trail,” by combining the Air Line Trail, which runs in two pieces from East Hampton to Putnam and the Massachusetts border, and the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail, which runs north-south from Suffield to New Haven.

“This bill wouldn’t just provide constituents with a new trail for their use, but connect two of Connecticut’s largest trails together in the process,” said Sen. Abrams. “The resulting trail would be more than 100 total miles and stretch across much of the state, creating a new attraction that will show off Connecticut’s natural environmental beauty while supporting health and wellness for its users both locally and state-wide. It would also allow residents to bike or walk to work in some situations, giving them increased choice of transportation.”

“Showcasing the beauty of our state and doing so in a way which can benefit the well-being of our residents and create lucrative opportunities for businesses as well is a win-win,” said Sen. Lesser. “I’m happy to stand alongside Senator Abrams and Senator Needleman on this legislation which will have a positive impact on so many in our respective districts and state.”

“The Central Connecticut Loop Trail would also serve as an economic benefit for the state and its towns, standing as both a tourist attraction and a feeder into Main Streets,” said Sen. Needleman. “Runners, bikers and walkers will come from far away, with trailside businesses ready to fix their bikes and provide them with food and drinks, and at the end of the day, they’ll be right in the heart of Connecticut, which will surely lead them downtown for dinner or shopping on Main Street.”

The National Recreation and Park Association said in 2016 that trails don’t just allow for more exercise, but improve socialization along the way, further benefiting health. The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection added last year that trails serve to preserve and create open spaces, encourage healthy lifestyles, create new opportunities for recreation and transportation, bolster local economies and protect the environment.