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Lamont announces $85.2 million in federal grants for Northeast Corridor rail improvement

Jessica Hill

Connecticut will receive $85.2 million in federal funding for rail improvements along the Northeast Corridor.

About $65 million will support the replacement of the Connecticut River Bridge between Old Saybrook and Old Lyme. The 115-year-old bridge, owned by Amtrak, poses a safety threat due to its age, according to federal transportation authorities.

Maximum speeds will increase from 45 miles per hour on this section of the railway to 70 miles per hour.

“We all know how critical the Northeast Corridor is for job creation, economic growth and environmentally friendly transportation,” Governor Ned Lamont said in a statement. “Our administration has a vision for faster, more reliable and greener public transportation. And we are doing everything possible to make that vision a reality. Thanks to these grants, that reality is moving one step closer.”

The remaining $20 million will support phase one of the state Department of Transportation plan to replace the seven power substations along the New Haven line.

The new substations would be more energy and cost efficient — a major upgrade since the last improvement in the 1980s.

The corridor is heavily traveled, with 350 daily commuter trains and 60 Amtrak trains.

“From well-known Amtrak routes to commuter rail lines serving cities across the country, Americans rely on intercity passenger rail to travel, get to work, and visit loved ones,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg in a statement.

The money is part of Federal-State Partnership for State of Good Repair Program funding to develop "safe, affordable, and environmentally-friendly mode of transportation," he added.

Molly is a reporter covering Connecticut. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.