On December 16, 2016, without conducting a single environmental or feasibility study, without releasing maps to the public, or explaining the purpose of the plan, the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) endorsed a blueprint that would quad-track the existing two-rail corridor between Branford and Guilford, Connecticut, through Stony Creek. The diagram above represents similar proposed quad-tracking between Providence, RI and Westwood, MA, but no one knows exactly what the FRA intends for coastal Connecticut…
The plan has met with considerable opposition on the local, state, and federal level… Senator Richard Blumenthal has asked for the FRA to remove the proposal from federal planning. State Rep. Lonnie Reed is opposed. Guilford First Selectman Joe Mazza, has written to the FRA that “the plan is invasive to our ecological system and would destroy the character of Branford, Guilford and towns east of Guilford.”
Letters questioning the proposal have also been sent to the FRA by the Branford Land Trust, Branford Historical Society, Stony Creek Association, Guilford Land Conservation Trust, Guilford Preservation Alliance, and Hyland House.
The National Trust for Historic Preservation concluded that the FRA had failed to follow well-established environmental and preservation regulation dating back more than a half-century. You can read their comments here.
The Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation, which has led advocacy on this issue, has asked the FRA to remove the Branford to Guilford rail expansion from the plan:
In the case of the planned additional tracks between Branford Station to Guilford Station, we are not yet convinced that the Federal Railroad Administration has adequately acknowledged or considered several significant impacts to historic resources posed by this capacity solution, including the Route 146 National Register district … Given the cursory discussion and description of the project and impacts … we ask that the Federal Railroad Administration also remove this project from the Preferred Alternative prior to its selection and inclusion in a Record of Decision. You can read extensive comments by the Connecticut Trust on the NEC Future plan, including the Branford to Guilford expansion here.[/blockquote]
Unfortunately, that the Federal Railroad Administration is intent on weathering this opposition and will push this proposal into the Record of Decision, where it cannot be easily removed without lengthy and costly court action.
So… what can you do, and how much time is there to act? We expect that the plans will be finalized as early as late May, so it’s very important that you write to express you concern as soon as possible. The easiest way to do that, is to click here and sign this letter in opposition to the plan (it will open automatically in your mail program).
You can also sign a petition in opposition to the plan here.