There’s been so much going on in Massachusetts, exciting developments and a lot of debate, and that winding road down to New Milford looks a lot longer in the winter. But we can’t forget our friends, and the rail line, in Connecticut. It was good to have a reminder in the excellent Berkshire Record article, “Berkshire legislators introduce Housatonic rail line passenger service study” by Evan Triantafilidis (February 17, 2020), about the MA House and Senate bills, of a 2015 conversation with then-governor Malloy of CT:
Christensen says a similar upgrade to the 37 miles of track in Connecticut is also essential to the revival of the Housatonic line.
Connecticut’s former governor, Dannel Malloy, said in the past that he cannot justify spending millions of dollars of Connecticut taxpayers’ money to facilitate passenger rail service that would only benefit the Berkshires in neighboring Massachusetts. That position doesn’t appear to have changed.
In a December 2015 interview with the Record Malloy said that if train aficionados want to restore passenger rail service from Grand Central Terminal to the Berkshires, then the state of Massachusetts will have to pay more than its share of the tab to upgrade freight tracks to passenger train quality.
“Don’t get me wrong; I understand it might serve [their] needs,” Malloy said. “But in terms of the numbers of people that get served, it really is driven by Massachusetts traffic, and there is no way to afford to do that project if this is ‘they take care of their side of the map and we take care of our side of the map.’ And by the way, that’s just not how projects get done.”
“I understand why they want to do it, because they get a lot of service for very little money and we get relatively little service for a lot of money,” Malloy continued. “So I’m open to discussions with the folks in Massachusetts but it’s gotta be about how it’s paid for. The current proposition is not possible.”
Let’s keep this in mind as a point for discussion. Other multi-state rail projects have allocated costs in ways that represented varying levels of benefit, as well as other issues.