January 14, 2019

Leone, Bergstein & Transportation Committee Members Announce Support of 30-30-30 Rail Proposal

In his first address to the state legislature on Wednesday, Governor Ned Lamont pledged his support for the 30-30-30 plan, which would reduce train travel time between New York-Stamford, Stamford-New Haven, and New Haven-Hartford to 30 minutes each. The announcement was met with a standing ovation by Republicans and Democrats alike.

Why are legislators so excited by this idea?

Roland Lemar, House Chair of Transportation, says “Increased access to NY and lower Fairfield County would bring tens of thousands of new jobs to Connecticut spark economic development up and down the shoreline and yield tremendous revenue for our State.

The investment in faster trains would bring immediate benefits to those who commute, but also to those who don’t. Economic benefits would reach far beyond the borders of Fairfield County. For instance, if one spouse can get to their job in New York faster, the family might choose to live somewhere farther away from Fairfield County. “Opening labor markets up and down the coast means you can live anywhere in CT and connect to high-paying jobs located on the coast,” Lemar explains.

“The 30-30-30 plan is a high bar, as it should be, because the status quo should no longer be an option,” said Senator Carlo Leone, Senate Chair of the Transportation Committee.

“FC is the economic engine of the state and contributes 41 percent of the income tax revenue,” new legislator Alex Bergstein, who is Senate Vice Chair of Transportation says. “And we can increase the amount of revenue produced by my district, and FC overall, without raising taxes, by attracting businesses here if we make smart investments in our rail system,” she adds.

Legislators from districts outside of Fairfield County agree. Rep. Kerry Wood says “when Fairfield County does well it benefits the rest of us. Drawing more residents and businesses to FC creates more wealth and tax revenue that can be distributed to the rest of the state for education, seniors and other needs our communities have.”

Business leaders concur. Twenty years ago companies moved to office parks, but now employees want to be near trains. Downtown locations near train stations have become the most desirable locations for companies. Joe McGee of the Business Council of Fairfield County frames the growth potential by saying “the New York regional economy is the largest in the country at $1.3 trillion/year, and expanding that business activity into CT will drive our growth. Connecting New York and New Haven with faster rail and mass transit, is critical for the future of our state.” “If we invest in bringing the New Haven line into a state of good repair, and add new express service from New Haven, we can cut 24 minutes off the travel time from to Grand Central,” says McGee. “And when we do this, it makes communities all over CT more desirable places to live.”

Rep. Wood, who represents Rocky Hill, Wethersfield and Newington, and is also a real estate broker, sees a direct benefit to her communities from investing in the 30-30-30 plan. “The development potential along the New Haven to Springfield line has yet to be realized,” she says. “Transit-oriented development is exactly what millennials, retired people and many others are looking for now because they want access to home, work, social and cultural outlets without using a car.”

“Faster trains from New Haven to Stamford to New York is the key to unlocking the full economic potential of this state,” the legislators agree.