Washington, D.C. – Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) met with Jay Walder, the new Chairman of the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority, today to discuss how to improve Metro-North service in Connecticut. As Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs, Dodd oversees transit issues and will be responsible for transit as Congress takes up a major rewrite of transportation law in the coming months.
“Chairman Walder and I had a good discussion about the challenges facing Metro-North and how we can improve it to make sure that Connecticut residents can count on Metro-North for fast, safe, reliable travel every day,” said Dodd. “Thanks to stimulus funding, we’ve already begun work to upgrade the Danbury branch line, extending safer and more reliable rail service to communities all the way from Norwalk to Danbury. As I told Chairman Walder, I’m committed to improving the Metro North experience for passengers and expanding it to encourage more Connecticut residents to take advantage of what it has to offer.”
Dodd is working to expand transit opportunities in Connecticut and across the country.
In April, Dodd held a field hearing in New Haven to discuss the transit challenges facing Connecticut. Metro North President Howard Permut testified, along with Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner Joe Marie and several other transit experts. Dodd is also working to develop the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield rail line, bringing Connecticut officials to Washington to meet with leaders of the Federal Transit Administration and Federal Railroad Administration, and inviting federal officials to Connecticut.
Earlier this year, Dodd passed a measure to allow transit agencies to use up to 10 percent of the funding they receive under the Recovery Act to cover operating expenses to help transit agencies prevent fare increases, avoid lay-offs, furloughs and significant cuts in service.
Dodd has also introduced the Livable Communities Act, a bill to help local communities plan and implement projects that improve transportation, housing, and economic development.
The MTA the largest public transportation agency in the country, carrying 2.8 billion passengers a year on New York City Transit, Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North, Long Island Bus and MTA Bus. Metro-North’s New Haven Line, which Metro-North operates for the Connecticut DOT, is the largest commuter rail line in the nation and in 2008 carried 38 million of Metro-North's 84 million passengers.