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New Proposal For Long-Sought High-Speed Rail To Connect Boston, Hartford, Manhattan

Image by David Z from Pixabay

A new proposal has been made for a decades-old high-speed rail corridor that would connect Boston to Manhattan through Long Island and Connecticut. The railway would cut travel time to an hour and a half.

The plan, called the North Atlantic Rail, would improve the current train lines in New England before construction on faster railways begins.

The high-speed rail would start in Manhattan and run parallel with the Long Island Expressway before jutting north to Port Jefferson and taking a 16-mile tunnel under Long Island Sound to Bridgeport, making stops in Hartford and Providence before ending the trek in Boston.

There are actually three options for the new rail. Planners said the caveat of using the current coastal route through Connecticut, running through historic coastal towns, would probably not be feasible.

The project is estimated to cost over $100 billion. Robert Yaro, the former president of the Regional Plan Association, is spearheading the plan that was first developed by a University of Pennsylvania planning studio. Some current and former Connecticut officials, including Hartford Mayor Luke Bronin, former deputy economic development czar Christopher Bergstrom, former transportation chief Emil Frankel, and Yaro all back the plans. However, the project is considered a private venture.

Yaro is seeking federal funding, similar to the funding given to New York for the Tappan Zee Bridge project in 2013, now the Governor Mario M. Cuomo Bridge. Money would also be used to rebuild infrastructure on current rail lines throughout Connecticut and the rest of New England.

Other high-speed rail projects are also being proposed, including a line that would connect Richmond, Virginia and Washington, D.C. The New Penn Station/Moynihan Train Hall was recently opened and is the new hub for Amtrak and Long Island Rail Road.

The U.S. is well behind other countries when it comes to high-speed rail systems. Many European countries are connected through these systems, and Japan and China’s systems are looked at as templates, while the U.S. only has one high-speed rail system in California.

President Joe Biden, known for using Amtrak to commute while he was senator, had pushed for high-speed rail while Vice President. Now, his Secretary of Transportation, Pete Buttigieg, wants the U.S. to become the leader in high-speed rails.