Shelton lawmakers join fight for Valley rail improvements
HARTFORD - Shelton’s lawmakers has joined the bipartisan Waterbury Rail Line caucus in its fight to expand that rail line’s capacity.
State Sen. Kevin Kelly (R-21) and state Reps. Ben McGorty (R-122) and Jason Perillo (R-113) are members of the caucus, which held its first meeting Feb. 18.
The Waterbury Rail Line caucus is advocating for expansion of the Waterbury Rail Line, including increasing capacity and addressing issues and concerns. Current stops along the branch include Derby-Shelton, Ansonia, Seymour, Beacon Falls, Naugatuck, and Waterbury, with future expansion to Thomaston and Torrington.
“The Waterbury line needs to be a priority for Connecticut,” said Kelly. “There is so much untapped potential in the Naugatuck Valley that enhanced rail service can help us nurture and develop into opportunity. Increasing rail capacity is vital to economic development and job growth in our region.”
Perillo praised the bipartisan regional effort on this issue.
“It has been overlooked for far too long by those in power,” said Kelly. “I am very excited to see this united, bipartisan effort to fight for our part of the state. If the governor’s inability to pass tolls has shown us anything it is that your voices matter.
“We need to increase capacity on the Waterbury line and we are united in working to achieve that goal,” added Kelly.
Members of Connecticut’s Waterbury Rail Line (WRL) caucus and area legislators have introduced a concept through the Transportation Committee addressing issues and concerns that exist on the WRL. The bipartisan group is supportive of legislative proposals to make improvements to both rail service and infrastructure, including platforms and modern rail cars.
Kelly has also submitted a request to the Transportation Committee this year to increase the number and frequency of trains running on the Waterbury branch line and to add stops in Seymour, Shelton and Derby.
“Governor Ned Lamont promised the Valley that he would support the Waterbury Rail Line and the Valley Fire Training School, and he has failed to keep his promise,” said McGorty. “Hartford and other major cities have been a priority for Democratic lawmakers and this needs to change. The Naugatuck Valley should be on the governor’s priority list and the Waterbury Rail Line should get the respect and investment that it deserves.”