Students Lead High-Speed Rail Tour Across Connecticut

HARTFORD- While many students are spending their Spring Breaks in Cancun or Palm Beach or other exotic locations, a dedicated group of ConnPIRG students are using their Spring Break to build support for the High-Speed Rail service between New Haven to Springfield, here in Connecticut. More than ten students are traveling the high speed rail route to draw attention and build support for the proposal. Today the students made their last stop in at the Capitol Building in Hartford, where they were joined by Speaker of the House Christopher Donovan and State Representative David McCluskey.

“We’re riding bikes across the state to begin our spring break, but we’d rather be riding high speed rail,” said ConnPIRG campaign coordinator Maggie Thomas. “Investing in more and better public transportation will create jobs, connect where we work and where we live, and support healthy sustainable communities.”

High-speed rail would reduce car travel by up to 29 million trips annually, reduce global warming pollution and reduce the need to expand expensive roads and airports. Connecticut has already received a down-payment on the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield line with the $40 million commitment announced by President Obama in January. But in order for the state to position itself as a good investment for future transit projects, public transportation must continue to be a priority for elected officials and the public.

Many of Connecticut’s officials (local, state and federal) are already “on-board”, recognizing the many benefits of improved connectivity around the state and within their communities. Throughout the bike ride students were joined by Speaker of the House Christopher Donovan, State Representative David McCluskey, Mayor John DeStefano, of New Haven Representative Mary Mushinsky, Senator Thomas Gaffey and Mayor Michael Rodhe of Meriden. In regards to public transportation in Connecticut.
Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro said “I have long fought for better transportation options in Connecticut, and a high-speed passenger rail would be a great way to reduce traffic congestion, minimize travel time for commuters, and cut down on pollution. I commend ConnPIRG for their efforts in supporting this endeavor, among others, and I look forward to working with them to bring Connecticut’s transportation system into the future.” Local communities will also profit from increased public transportation. “More convenient, faster, and cleaner travel options will make traveling to and from Berlin easier. The increase in public transportation, including high speed-rail will stimulate the local economy, thus benefiting the whole community” stated Mayor Adam Salina of Berlin. 

The three day “High Speed Rail Tour” started in Stamford on Saturday and continued through Monday with stops in New Haven, Wallingford, Meriden, Kensington and finished in Hartford.