AP NEWS

Haskell announces legislation to improve Metro-North service

February 14, 2019

State Sen. Will Haskell, D-Westport, has submitted two new bills to the General Assembly intended to improve Metro-North train service.

If enacted, these proposals would provide wireless internet access on trains operating on the New Haven line and provide relief to riders boarding the train in New Canaan. Haskell also highlighted his determination to reduce travel time and improve reliability.

“The New Haven Line supports near-record numbers of riders today, with more than 40 million total trips taken in 2017, and yet the experience of riding the train has deteriorated in several important ways,†said Sen. Haskell. â€?“From Amtrak to Megabus to most commercial airlines, travelers have come to expect Wi-Fi while commuting. On one of the busiest commuter networks in the country, it’s crucial that we make the daily trip economically efficient for those traveling to and from work. This bill would provide commuters an opportunity to work while riding the train.”

Senate Bill No. 163, “An Act Concerning Wireless Internet Availability on the New Haven Line of the Metro-North Commuter Railroad,” would require Metro-North to provide high-quality, complimentary wireless Internet access to riders of the New Haven train line.

“When Boston’s commuter rail service supports Wi-Fi service, Connecticut is placed at a competitive disadvantage. Employers tell us that improving our outdated infrastructure is crucial to revitalizing our economy. Realtors tell us that potential buyers look closely at the commuting experience before investing in our community. We cannot afford to allow Metro-North to remain stuck in the past,†said Sen. Haskell. “Connecticut commuters deserve better than to be forced to rely on frankly unreliable phone service.”

Senate Bill No. 448, “An Act Authorizing Bonds of the State for the Construction of a Canopy Covering The Platform at the Talmadge Hill Train Station in New Canaan,” would authorize state bonds to provide a grant-in-aid to construct a canopy to provide protection against the elements at the Talmadge Hill Train Station in New Canaan.

“We cannot in good faith encourage public transportation while asking commuters to wait in the rain for their train,” said Haskell. “I hear constantly from both Democrats and Republicans in New Canaan that the experience of commuting to Manhattan must improve in order to bolster New Canaan’s real estate market. Most other Metro-North train stations offer canopies that prevent riders from getting soaked. I’m working hard to have one built for my constituents in New Canaan.”

As a member of the transportation committee, Haskell is ready to work with Fairfield County legislators from both sides of the aisle to modernize infrastructure and provide commuters with greater reliability.

“It’s simply unacceptable that the train from Westport to Grand Central has gotten slower since 1950, not faster, said Haskell. “Now that we’ve passed a transportation lockbox, it’s time to make long-term investments in our infrastructure that will allow us to speed up trains and reduce daily delays. The New Haven-Grand Central line is a crucial economic corridor for the state of Connecticut, and investment in these commuters is long overdue.”