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Amid Vocal Opposition, Feds Consider Changes To High Speed Rail Plan

Mel Evans

The proposed high-speed rail in the Northeast Corridor has hit a bump. After pushback from residents in Connecticut and Rhode Island, the Federal Rail Administration says it’s willing to modify the plan due to residents' worries that the new route would run right through historic districts.  

U.S. Representative Joe Courtney, D-CT2, represents some of the coastal towns. He says he welcomes the FRA decision but has some reservations.

“This is a pretty long stretch of rail, so a little tweak here or there is not going to satisfy the protests that are coming from communities all along the coastline, as well as into Rhode Island, as well as into Native American tribes.”

The FRA’s plan would reroute the rail between Old Saybrook, Connecticut, and Kenyon, Rhode Island. The opposition says this would jeopardize historic towns that have already been built up along the coast.

Daniel Mackay, executive director of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, says the FRA should not have a new route along the coast.

“There is no way to build 50 miles of new route in southeastern Connecticut without having impacts on a mile-by-mile basis. That should have prevented the line being put down on the map to begin with.”

The FRA says it will accept and review community input before it moves forward. A final decision is expected on March 1.

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