Governor Lamont Announces $29.6 Million Grant for Accessibility Upgrades on the Waterbury Branch Line
Grant Supports Accessibility Upgrades at Ansonia, Seymour, and Beacon Falls Train Stations
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that the Federal Transit Administration is awarding $29.6 million in an All Stations Accessibility Program (ASAP) grant to the Connecticut Department of Transportation that will be used to make accessibility upgrades on three stations along the Metro-North Railroad Waterbury Branch Line, including in Ansonia, Seymour, and Beacon Falls.
The improvements will make the stations and facilities fully accessible to passengers with disabilities. Improvements to the century-old stations include building high-level rail platforms, installing handrails, providing more equitable service, and increasing access to jobs.
The three stations serve nearly 42,000 people, and an estimated 10% have a disability. The Waterbury Branch Line is a critical connector for the many daily commuters working in Bridgeport, lower Fairfield County, and the New York metropolitan area, as well as residents traveling to access services, shopping, and entertainment throughout lower New England.
Created under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, the ASAP grant program makes competitive funding available to finance capital projects to repair, improve, modify, retrofit, or relocate train station infrastructure and facilities for rider accessibility and equity.
Governor Lamont said, “Ensuring that everyone can access public facilities is critically important, and that is why I am excited that we have been approved for this grant that will allow us to make long-overdue accessibility improvements at several train stations along the Waterbury Branch Line. This is not only a transit issue, but it is a matter of equity. I am grateful to the Federal Transit Administration for approving this grant, as well as our fantastic Congressional delegation for their work to help our state secure these dollars.”
Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Joseph Giulietti said, “This grant will increase accessibility and equity for all Waterbury Branch Line passengers. We thank the Federal Transit Administration, Governor Lamont, and our Congressional delegation for their continued support of Connecticut’s interconnected rail network to the northeast and for recognizing the importance of accessibility and equity for all rail passengers.”
Connecticut Department of Aging and Disability Services Commissioner Amy Porter said, “Equal access to transportation is critically important because it enables people with disabilities to access important opportunities in education, employment, housing, health care and community connections.”
Senator Richard Blumenthal said, “This federal grant helps make public transportation fair and accessible as well as efficient. With these funds, the Waterbury Branch Line will be upgraded to make it safer and easier for all Connecticut riders. I’m thrilled by this eye-popping investment and will work with our dedicated delegation to fight for more.”
Senator Chris Murphy said, “I’ve always believed that the Waterbury Branch Line is a case of ‘if you build it, they will come.’ There is a ton a demand for high-quality train service from Bridgeport to Waterbury and back, and this new major investment is going to draw a lot of new riders – who badly need mass transit options – to the train.”
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) said, “The Waterbury Branch Line is the longest of the three branch lines, operating passenger service between Waterbury and Bridgeport with stops at Naugatuck, Beacon Falls, Seymour, Ansonia, and Derby-Shelton. I have long been an advocate for these upgrades since Senator Murphy and I rode the Waterbury Branch together back in 2009 and saw first-hand the need for upgrades. Modernizing and improving the Waterbury Branch is needed to bolster efficiency, safety, and the overall customer experience. Infrastructure is the lifeblood of our economy. Yet the past several years have been incredibly challenging for the transportation services that are essential to our transportation network and economy, and even harder for those in our communities with disabilities. These accessibility upgrades put us on a path forward to ensure that our transportation infrastructure is accessible to all.”
Tom Wade, an advocate for Independence Northwest, one of the five community-based independent living centers in Connecticut, said, “The railroad system offers a safe and efficient option to go to work, attend appointments, and be part of so much of the entertainment industry that flourishes in our area, from Waterbury to New Haven, and of course New York. As a wheelchair user and someone who depends on both private and public transportation, I strongly support the planned improvements to the railroad system throughout our area. The idea of inclusion for people disabilities in our transit system allows everyone to be a part of our community and maintain the quality of life and dignity we all strive for each and every day.”
The Waterbury Branch Line provides service on the New Haven Line, connecting Waterbury and Naugatuck valley communities to New Haven and New York City. It is the longest branch line of the New Haven Line system, consisting of 27.1 miles of track from Waterbury to Bridgeport.
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