Courtney, Blumenthal, Murphy urge FRA to work with local communities

The Day

Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, and Sens. Richard Blumenthal and Chris Murphy, D-Conn., are urging the Federal Railroad Administration to hold "listening sessions" with communities, including Old Lyme, that could be affected by a proposed rail alternative.

One of the options proposed in a plan for upgrades to the Northeast Corridor calls for the addition of new railroad tracks that would "shift northward east of the Old Saybrook Station and run through several Connecticut and Rhode Island shoreline communities before reconnecting to the existing segment in Kenyon, R.I.," according to a news release.

“While we understand that the FRA is still in the project planning stages of NEC FUTURE and many more steps remain ahead in this process, we believe consistent community involvement will serve as the most important tool for finding agreeable alternatives, increasing local buy-in, and instilling a sense of trust among affected residents, ...” the legislators wrote in a Feb. 5 letter to FRA Administrator Sarah Feinberg.

The legislators said many constituents were surprised about the proposed placement of new tracks in communities. The potential tracks "would run straight through the center of Old Lyme, impacting the cultural, historical and geographic integrity of the town – which is concerning to town leaders and community stakeholders."