It’s about time the U.S caught up with public transportation savvy countries like China and Spain. Not only is public transportation beneficial to the environment (because it reduces the amount of greenhouse gas emissions from fossil-fuel-guzzling cars), but it is also more efficient in terms of both our time and money.
In response to public demand to expand capacity and lessen rail travel times, Amtrak has developed a vision for Next Generation High-Speed Rail service on the Northeast Corridor, called NEC Future. The Federal Rail Administration, which would oversee the development of NEC Future, has just released a Record of Decision, which describes the environmental impacts of the “selected alternative.” The FRA’s selected alternative will improve service and add tracks on the shoreline but leaves the exact route through Hartford up for grabs.
Overall, high speed rail is good for Hartford’s economic development, expanding access to a larger and more diverse workforce and providing more opportunities to our labor force. The introduction of high-speed rail service to Hartford would provide travel times to New York City that are comparable to what Stamford currently enjoys, with 1-hour access to downtown Boston. The population and jobs within 90 minutes’ travel of downtown Hartford would be 4 to 5 times higher with Next-Gen High-speed Rail, compared to the present transportation network.
Beyond Hartford, the planned commuter rail system along the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield route would give West Hartford, Newington, Berlin and other towns the chance to become more viable, sustainable and livable communities. So let’s all get to work and find ways to speed up and support the development of Amtrak’s vision for a new high-speed railway.