STAMFORD — In the hustle and bustle of Stamford Transportation Center Thursday morning, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy and U.S. Rep. Jim Himes pledged support to invest $860 million in the Northeast Corridor's infrastructure. This time they made sure that Connecticut is on the map.
Amtrak, the publicly-funded railroad service, has proposed to spend $360 million to reinvest in the Northeast Corridor's infrastructure. Besides, Amtrak has also proposed $500 million of a brand new fund in the capital budget just for the Northeast Corridor, Murphy said.
"There were years and years when Washington is burying its head in the sand when it came to our needs in the Northeast to improve rail (service)," Murphy said. "They've finally woken both Amtrak and the administration up to the fact that they need to make some major new investments. And now we've got to win passage of those new proposals."
The Northeast Rail Corridor brings $360 million in profit each year, Murphy said. In contrast, recently Amtrak has directed less than $300 million toward the Northeast Corridor infrastructure per year.
"Normally Amtrak takes that money and spends that on other parts of the country, where they have money losing operations," Murphy said. "This year Amtrak is proposing to keep that $360 million right here in Northeast Corridor and reinvest it in capital improvement. That's a huge win."
Fairfield County is likely to get a piece of the pie to replace some of its oldest bridges in Norwalk, Stamford and Westport.
"Connecticut has some of the highest priority projects on the Northeast Corridor (proposal)," Murphy said. "The three oldest bridges in Fairfield County all need to be replaced. It's likely that money will be used to replace the bridges in Norwalk, Stamford and Westport."
"If we can replace some of these old bridges and improve the condition of tracks on the New York side of the line. We can increase the number of trains we run in to New York City and speed up the time."
In early March, Murphy and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal vowed to stop a U.S. House proposal that would develop a new high-speed train from Washington, D.C. to Boston without stops in Connecticut.
"The Northeast Corridor part of Amtrak is the only profitable part of Amtrak," Blumenthal said. "So ignoring Connecticut wouldn't make sense to the economy or any other way."
Blumenthal said he doesn't know when the new proposals are going to be passed.
"I?hope there will be a bill coming out to me sometime in spring," Blumenthal said.