Senators Threatens to Tie Self to Tracks in Response to Old Lyme High-Speed Rail Proposal
OLD LYME, CT – U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. and a pair of lawmakers promised to tie themselves to the tracks if a proposal for a rail route through the center of Old Lyme is approved as is, according to media reports.
"The [Federal Railroad Association's] half-baked, harebrained proposals to reroute Amtrak through Old Lyme fail to reflect the priorities and needs of Old Lyme residents and those who work and live in surrounding shoreline communities," said Blumenthal.
These sentiments were just some of the vocal complaints voiced during a meeting Wednesday with local politicians representatives from the FRA, according to Fox 61. More than 500 people packed the auditorium of the Lyme-Old Lyme High School, where residents were seemingly unanimous in their opposition to the proposal.
"The FRA's resources would be better spent on making critical rail improvements in the region, not on unrealistic proposals that are met with strong, well-merited opposition," said Blumenthal. I hope that the FRA will fully listen to the community's concerns and drop this misguided plan."
A high-speed Amtrak bypass line connecting Old Saybrook and Rhode Island and cutting through historic Old Lyme has been proposed by the FRA, Fox 61 reported. It is considered by the agency as a better way to connect New York City, Boston and Washington D.C.
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It has also been hotly debated almost since its inception.
More than 1,800 comments against the bypass were submitted during the public comment period for the plan, The Day reported. The meeting had been requested by Sens. Blumenthal and Chris Murphy so local officials could discuss how to preserve Old Lyme's history and environment while still serving rail needs.
Proposals contemplated for the FRA's Northeast Corridor long-term plan would cost between $68 billion and hundreds of billions of dollars, according to The Day. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District brought up the long list of upgrades that are needed along the corridor.
Blumenthal was adamant that he would block the proposal as it stands by fighting as long and hard as possible to do so, CT Mirror reported. Many residents and officials made clear they are not opposed to high--speed rail, but would rather see the existing infrastructure improved.
image via Shutterstock.