Value Capture Financing is something to keep an eye on in the coming years, both at the state and the federal level, as an emerging revenue scheme... [here proposed in Trumps latest transportation proposal]

"Value Capture Financing" is something to keep an eye on in the coming years, both at the state and the federal level, as an emerging revenue scheme... [here proposed in Trump's latest transportation proposal] ... See MoreSee Less

5 days ago

Few people in Connecticut have a better grasp of transportation politics than Jim Cameron, a long-time commuter rail advocate, columnist, and key ally in our outreach to Fairfield County on the issue of high-speed rail.  

So we are excited to have Jim to speak and take questions on the proposed reduction of Shore Line East service, tolling, gas tax, etc. We highly recommend that you come with your questions...

When? February 21 at 7 pm
Where? Old Lyme Memorial Town Hall

To kick off his visit, Jim has agreed to answer few questions for us, which we hope you will find provocative and informative. Take a look...

...............Q&A Below ....................

SECoast: How seriously should we take the Governor’s latest proposals for Shore Line East? Is this a real proposal to eliminate weekend service, and cut weekday service by more than half? Or do you see this as more of an effort to drum up support for additional transportation funding during coming budget negotiations?

JC: I take it as a very real (but unwanted) proposal.  The last thing CDOT wants to do is cut service.  But the alternatives to balance the Special Transportation Fund are few, though this is one.  Only the legislature can finding funding alternatives (tolls, gas taxes) to avoid this.

SECoast: How do you see the results of the coming race for governor affecting coming decisions on tolling, gas taxes, commuter service, and the widening of I-95? How much does political party matter in this case? Do any of the candidates stand out in terms of transportation issues?

JC: This is not a partisan issue, nor should it be.  But in my mind any candidate who is dismissing tolls as a tax are not being honest with voters.  Tolls are users fees, paid by those who choose to use them.  Who else should pay for our roads if not drivers?  Its early days yet in finding candidates whove embraced this issue so voters must keep asking candidates where they stand.

SECoast: Looking to the future, do you believe there will be tolling within 8 years? Two additional lanes on I-95 within 15 years? Significantly expanded high-speed rail within 30?

JC: I think the first and easiest step will be raising the gasoline tax.  Remember, it was the legislature in 1997 that lowered that tax 14 cents a gallon, losing us $3.7 billion in money that could have been spent on transportation.  Tolls I think will happen, but in 2-4 years.  Widening I-95 between New Haven and RI makes sense and will probably happen... if money can be found.  As for the FRAs plans for HSR, I cant predict given your and other groups successful lobbying against the plan.

.......................................

You can find Jim Cameron on the web at: www.CommuterActionGroup.org and on Twitter at: @CTRailCommuters

Few people in Connecticut have a better grasp of transportation politics than Jim Cameron, a long-time commuter rail advocate, columnist, and key ally in our outreach to Fairfield County on the issue of high-speed rail.

So we are excited to have Jim to speak and take questions on the proposed reduction of Shore Line East service, tolling, gas tax, etc. We highly recommend that you come with your questions...

When? February 21 at 7 pm
Where? Old Lyme Memorial Town Hall

To kick off his visit, Jim has agreed to answer few questions for us, which we hope you will find provocative and informative. Take a look...

...............Q&A Below ....................

SECoast: How seriously should we take the Governor’s latest proposals for Shore Line East? Is this a real proposal to eliminate weekend service, and cut weekday service by more than half? Or do you see this as more of an effort to drum up support for additional transportation funding during coming budget negotiations?

JC: I take it as a very real (but unwanted) proposal. The last thing CDOT wants to do is cut service. But the alternatives to balance the Special Transportation Fund are few, though this is one. Only the legislature can finding funding alternatives (tolls, gas taxes) to avoid this.

SECoast: How do you see the results of the coming race for governor affecting coming decisions on tolling, gas taxes, commuter service, and the widening of I-95? How much does political party matter in this case? Do any of the candidates stand out in terms of transportation issues?

JC: This is not a partisan issue, nor should it be. But in my mind any candidate who is dismissing tolls as a "tax" are not being honest with voters. Tolls are users fees, paid by those who choose to use them. Who else should pay for our roads if not drivers? It's early days yet in finding candidates who've embraced this issue so voters must keep asking candidates where they stand.

SECoast: Looking to the future, do you believe there will be tolling within 8 years? Two additional lanes on I-95 within 15 years? Significantly expanded high-speed rail within 30?

JC: I think the first and easiest step will be raising the gasoline tax. Remember, it was the legislature in 1997 that lowered that tax 14 cents a gallon, losing us $3.7 billion in money that could have been spent on transportation. Tolls I think will happen, but in 2-4 years. Widening I-95 between New Haven and RI makes sense and will probably happen... if money can be found. As for the FRA's plans for HSR, I can't predict given your and other groups' successful lobbying against the plan.

.......................................

You can find Jim Cameron on the web at: www.CommuterActionGroup.org and on Twitter at: @CTRailCommuters
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6 days ago

Trump transportation proposal would eliminate key federal transportation funding  for TIGER grants. 

Recent TIGER grants have included New Havens Route 34 Downtown Crossing Project, Barnum Station Project, New Havens State Street Station, etc.

This is an important proposed cut.

Trump transportation proposal would eliminate key federal transportation funding for TIGER grants.

Recent TIGER grants have included New Haven's Route 34 Downtown Crossing Project, Barnum Station Project, New Haven's State Street Station, etc.

This is an important proposed cut.
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1 week ago

Something to pay attention to in Trumps transportation proposal:  easing the way for additional tolling on federal interstates like I-95 (h/t https://twitter.com/chadderr)

Something to pay attention to in Trump's transportation proposal: easing the way for additional tolling on federal interstates like I-95 (h/t twitter.com/chadderr) ... See MoreSee Less

1 week ago

We have significant concerns that the bipartisan Connecticut budget will include a provision for the automatic approval of permits if DEEP does not act within 90 days.

This sort of "streamlining" of permitting and review, which is happening both at the state and federal level, is exactly why we have been fighting to keep the high-speed rail bypass proposals out of Tier 2 planning.

We urge you to contact your state representative to oppose this measure as soon as possible (there will be a vote TODAY).
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4 months ago

Tonight, Monday, October 2, from 6:30 – 8 pm in the Westport Town Hall Auditorium (110 Myrtle Avenue), Gregory Stroud will be joining First Selectman Jim Marpe for a presentation on plans for constructing a new rail corridor through Fairfield County. We hope for a lively Q&A. Please come out, and invite your friends!

Tonight, Monday, October 2, from 6:30 – 8 pm in the Westport Town Hall Auditorium (110 Myrtle Avenue), Gregory Stroud will be joining First Selectman Jim Marpe for a presentation on plans for constructing a new rail corridor through Fairfield County. We hope for a lively Q&A. Please come out, and invite your friends! ... See MoreSee Less

5 months ago

Comment on Facebook

Choo Choo trains. Unbelievable.

I feel our money could be much better spent constructing another corridor for i95 The rail commute th Grand Central is approx 45 mins from Westport. That same 45 minutes might get you to Greenwich using I-95 I-95 is the single greatest contributor to the erosion of the Quality of Life in Fairfield County The idea that we are going to spend billions of $$$ on an infrastructure project that affect a small % of the citizen and affect them marginally at best is ridiculous

hoe was the meeting?

A new rail corridor? I thought we all just discussed traffic didn't yield expanding the current one!

In an amazing feat of chutzpah, the FRA has chosen to make a carefully-parsed denial of the validity of the maps.

“The maps posted by SECoast were not produced by FRA,” said Warren Flatau, a spokesman for the federal agency.

Well, lets take a look at the metadata... AECOM, to be clear, is the contractor in charge of mapping environmental impacts for the FRA.

If after five years and $30 million taxpayer dollars, these plans are such an embarrassment, then why on earth were they approved as part of 
the July 12 Record of Decision? FRAs denial is incredibly disappointing, but not out of character for what we have long understood as a deeply flawed planning process. - Gregory Stroud, Executive Director, SECoast.

In an amazing feat of chutzpah, the FRA has chosen to make a carefully-parsed denial of the validity of the maps.

“The maps posted by SECoast were not produced by FRA,” said Warren Flatau, a spokesman for the federal agency.

Well, let's take a look at the metadata... AECOM, to be clear, is the contractor in charge of mapping environmental impacts for the FRA.

"If after five years and $30 million taxpayer dollars, these plans are such an embarrassment, then why on earth were they approved as part of
the July 12 Record of Decision? FRA's denial is incredibly disappointing, but not out of character for what we have long understood as a deeply flawed planning process." - Gregory Stroud, Executive Director, SECoast.
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5 months ago

Comment on Facebook

And note the content creation date.

Ho!

If after five years and $30 million taxpayer dollars, these plans are such an embarrassment, then why on earth were they approved as part of the July 12 Record of Decision? FRA's denial is incredibly disappointing, but not out of character for what we have long understood as a deeply flawed planning process.

Yikes.

If the FRA is using the maps internally and referring to them in public presentations, then they are effectively certifying the validity of these maps, no matter who produced them.

What time and where on the Monday October 2nd meeting in Westport??

6:30- 8:00 Westport Town Hall Auditorium.

+ View previous comments

BREAKING NEWS

High-Quality maps of NEC Future projects in Fairfield County leaked to the public... with maps of the Kenyon to Old Saybrook Bypass to follow shortly.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

PRESS RELEASE 

Preservation Advocates Release Previously Undisclosed High-Resolution Maps of Federal Railroad Administration High-speed Rail Bypass Through Fairfield County

Old Lyme, CT (Sept. 28): For the first time since the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) proposed a significant expansion of high-speed rail infrastructure through Connecticut, the public, and local officials will finally have their first opportunity to examine detailed high-resolution maps of the planned New Rochelle to Greens Farms Bypass through the historic coastal communities of Fairfield County.

On Thursday, the preservation nonprofit SECoast, which earlier partnered with the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation to lead opposition to similar proposals in southeastern Connecticut and southern Rhode Island, released what it says are previously undisclosed high-resolution maps of the proposal. In a statement to the press, the group claimed that while the maps were withheld from the public, and omitted from a Freedom of Information request submitted by the group to the FRA on April 6, 2016, the maps have been freely shared among state and federal agencies for months.

“We have always suspected that state agencies in Connecticut have had access to these high-quality maps,” SECoast Executive Director Gregory Stroud said in a prepared statement, “Now we know for certain that a number other states along the Northeast Corridor have had access to these maps since at least January. You have to wonder what legitimate purpose our own government has for keeping these detailed maps from the public.”

Stroud pointed out that a 1971 D.C. Circuit Court ruling in Calvert Cliffs Coordinating Committee v. United States Atomic Energy Commission holds federal agencies to a strict standard of “full disclosure,” tempered only by a “rule of reason” for the purposes of informing planning and decision making. Federal Regulations, C.F.R. 1506.6(f), require federal agencies to make “any underlying documents available to the public pursuant to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.”

“We have no interest in delaying sensible solutions and improvements for the Northeast Corridor,” Stroud noted. “We all agree that rail travel is vital for the economy of Connecticut, and for Fairfield County, in particular. But how can we support a plan, when the crucial details and impacts are kept from us?”

The FRA approved the New Rochelle to Greens Farms Bypass as the sole solution for capacity and speed constraints on the Northeast Corridor between New York and New Haven as part of the NEC Future Record of Decision released on July 12, 2017. The Record of Decision will guide state and federal investment, and eligibility for federal matching funds, through at least 2040.

As shown in the newly-released maps, the New Rochelle to Green Greens Farms Bypass will require approximately 29 miles of new right of way, near and alongside the I-95 corridor through the towns of Greenwich, Darien, Westport, Norwalk, and Stamford. This would include significant impacts to historic National Register districts in downtown Greenwich and Cos Cob; the National Historical Landmark Bush-Holley House; Mianus River and its embankments; residential neighborhoods in Darien; Flax Hill, Golden Hill and East Norwalk, in Norwalk; and to substantial commercial real estate in Old Greenwich and Stamford. An additional proposal for an expanded high-speed rail station in Greens Farms, also approved in the Record of Decision, has been met with puzzlement and concern.

“We’re working with town officials and local groups, including Greenwich Preservation Trust, to identify key impacts and areas of concerns, but we’re just scratching the surface,” said Stroud. “On October 2, the Town of Westport and the Westport Historical Society are hosting a public meeting on the plan from 6:30 – 8 pm in the Town Hall Auditorium (110 Myrtle Avenue), and we’ll be there to explain the plan, to answer questions, and to hear your concerns.”

In addition to the release, detailed maps, and further analysis, will be posted to www.SECoast.org
 
####

BREAKING NEWS

High-Quality maps of NEC Future projects in Fairfield County leaked to the public... with maps of the Kenyon to Old Saybrook Bypass to follow shortly.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

PRESS RELEASE

"Preservation Advocates Release Previously Undisclosed High-Resolution Maps of Federal Railroad Administration High-speed Rail Bypass Through Fairfield County"

Old Lyme, CT (Sept. 28): For the first time since the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) proposed a significant expansion of high-speed rail infrastructure through Connecticut, the public, and local officials will finally have their first opportunity to examine detailed high-resolution maps of the planned New Rochelle to Greens Farms Bypass through the historic coastal communities of Fairfield County.

On Thursday, the preservation nonprofit SECoast, which earlier partnered with the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation to lead opposition to similar proposals in southeastern Connecticut and southern Rhode Island, released what it says are previously undisclosed high-resolution maps of the proposal. In a statement to the press, the group claimed that while the maps were withheld from the public, and omitted from a Freedom of Information request submitted by the group to the FRA on April 6, 2016, the maps have been freely shared among state and federal agencies for months.

“We have always suspected that state agencies in Connecticut have had access to these high-quality maps,” SECoast Executive Director Gregory Stroud said in a prepared statement, “Now we know for certain that a number other states along the Northeast Corridor have had access to these maps since at least January. You have to wonder what legitimate purpose our own government has for keeping these detailed maps from the public.”

Stroud pointed out that a 1971 D.C. Circuit Court ruling in Calvert Cliffs' Coordinating Committee v. United States Atomic Energy Commission holds federal agencies to a strict standard of “full disclosure,” tempered only by a “rule of reason” for the purposes of informing planning and decision making. Federal Regulations, C.F.R. 1506.6(f), require federal agencies to make “any underlying documents available to the public pursuant to the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.”

“We have no interest in delaying sensible solutions and improvements for the Northeast Corridor,” Stroud noted. “We all agree that rail travel is vital for the economy of Connecticut, and for Fairfield County, in particular. But how can we support a plan, when the crucial details and impacts are kept from us?”

The FRA approved the New Rochelle to Greens Farms Bypass as the sole solution for capacity and speed constraints on the Northeast Corridor between New York and New Haven as part of the NEC Future Record of Decision released on July 12, 2017. The Record of Decision will guide state and federal investment, and eligibility for federal matching funds, through at least 2040.

As shown in the newly-released maps, the New Rochelle to Green Greens Farms Bypass will require approximately 29 miles of new right of way, near and alongside the I-95 corridor through the towns of Greenwich, Darien, Westport, Norwalk, and Stamford. This would include significant impacts to historic National Register districts in downtown Greenwich and Cos Cob; the National Historical Landmark Bush-Holley House; Mianus River and its embankments; residential neighborhoods in Darien; Flax Hill, Golden Hill and East Norwalk, in Norwalk; and to substantial commercial real estate in Old Greenwich and Stamford. An additional proposal for an expanded high-speed rail station in Greens Farms, also approved in the Record of Decision, has been met with puzzlement and concern.

“We’re working with town officials and local groups, including Greenwich Preservation Trust, to identify key impacts and areas of concerns, but we’re just scratching the surface,” said Stroud. “On October 2, the Town of Westport and the Westport Historical Society are hosting a public meeting on the plan from 6:30 – 8 pm in the Town Hall Auditorium (110 Myrtle Avenue), and we’ll be there to explain the plan, to answer questions, and to hear your concerns.”

In addition to the release, detailed maps, and further analysis, will be posted to www.SECoast.org

####
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5 months ago

Comment on Facebook

What isn't so clear from the maps, is what this would require to build, including fill, excavation, routing construction materials and trucks, staging areas... a massive, disruptive undertaking for Fairfield County.

Why does it stop in Westport? Someone from WP funding/lobbying this?

Are there updated Kenyon to Old Saybrook Bypass maps available?

Staff at SECoast and the Connecticut Trust sat down on Tuesday with Westerly Town Council member Jean Gagnier, Charlestown Town Council President Virginia Lee, and others, to discuss the next phases of NEC Future. 

We also had the chance to learn from Jean more about the Bricks and Murals project in Westerly and Pawcatuck which will bring in several nationally-regarded sign painters from out of state to complete 14 murals for the two towns.  Take a look!

Staff at SECoast and the Connecticut Trust sat down on Tuesday with Westerly Town Council member Jean Gagnier, Charlestown Town Council President Virginia Lee, and others, to discuss the next phases of NEC Future.

We also had the chance to learn from Jean more about the Bricks and Murals project in Westerly and Pawcatuck which will bring in several nationally-regarded sign painters from out of state to complete 14 murals for the two towns. Take a look!Did you buy your tickets yet? Only $35 in advance at bricksandmurals.org ... One week until the food stroll! #westerlyri #pawcatuckct #muralart #walldogs #murals #food #community #culture #history #festival #newengland #oceanstate
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5 months ago

View on Facebook

A pretty striking contrast in messaging between Senator Chris Murphy and CTDOT Commissioner James Redeker. Take a look at Murphy's opening speech in Westport on Thursday, August 24, and compare this to Redeker in Stamford on August 15 here: secoast.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Redeker-8.15.17-opening-statement.3gp

"So, in some sense what NEC Future does is paint this philosophy of investment for our future with no money and no projects, the State of Connecticut has a vision with no money yet, right, we pledged 2.8 billion against 100 billion so far and 5 years, 70% of that is in the railroad. All about state of good repair. So, our…effectively in Connecticut for Connecticut anything that’s programmed is in a capital plan, or potentially in a vision document, it’s all transparent, it’s all here, it’s all listed, there are no bypasses anywhere."

We strongly encourage you to take a look at Darien TV79's full video here: vimeo.com/231084714
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6 months ago

Comment on Facebook

This sounds like more $ for them to spend! Fix what we have Too many accidents.

Senator Chris Murphy held a meeting yesterday in Westport on the issue of high-speed rail for Connecticut, and for Fairfield County in particular. Needless to say, it was a very interesting event, with the senator advocating strongly for some version of the New Rochelle to Greens Farms Bypass, and further suggesting that the Kenyon to Old Saybrook Bypass was far from settled. Most striking was dead seriousness of the conversation, and discussion of the proposals... I'd strongly encourage you to watch at least Senator Murphy's opening statement.

vimeo.com/231084714
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6 months ago

Join us for our first annual Golf Classic at Shennecosset Golf Course in #Groton, #Connecticut.

Funds raised through this event will support the mission of the Trust to preserve, protect and promote Connecticut's historic buildings and sites through our many programs. Support our Circuit Riders, grants, revolving loan fund, easements and advocacy work!
Reserve your spot or sign-up for dinner only here: cttrust.z2systems.com/np/clients/cttrust/event.jsp?event=12&
Sponsor a hole here: cttrust.z2systems.com/np/clients/cttrust/event.jsp?event=12&

Golfer registration ends Friday, September 8th. Sponsor registration ends Tuesday, August 29th.

Will you sponsor a hole? Or sign-up a foursome and walk where Arnold Palmer and Bobby Jones have played? Or network at dinner with architects, developers, brokers, and contractors?
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6 months ago

Thanks to Jim Cameron and Darien TV79, we have a video of the meeting yesterday in Stamford, hosted by Senator Blumenthal, with CTDOT Commissioner Redeker, and leaders of Greenwich, Darien, Westport, Norwalk, and Stamford, as well as Francis Perkins, executive director of WestCOG [note that due to privacy settings, you will have to watch this video on the mother site at Vimeo]This is "High Speed Rail Meeting 8-15-17" by Darien TV79 on Vimeo, the home for high quality videos and the people who love them. ... See MoreSee Less

6 months ago

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