The state of Connecticut and Amtrak reached an agreement to complete Hartford Line that contains guaranteed cost ceilings and a clear timetable for work.
The completed Hartford Line will triple the number of trains between New Haven and Hartford and double the service between Hartford and Springfield. The program is now in construction. Four station projects are in construction and due to be completed prior to the launch of service, while fiber optic signal cable and communication nodes are installed along the corridor to power a brand new signal system including Positive Train Control. Centuries-old and undersized culverts and drainage structures are being replaced and the roadbed is currently being excavated for the second track.
“We are getting this project done. Instead of letting this languish for years and years, we are stepping up to the plate as a state to stand up for better transportation, more jobs and economic development. This is a transformative project – and we have a commitment to get it done,” said Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy. “The future Hartford Line will provide access to jobs for residents along the corridor, as well as better connections to Metro-North service along the Connecticut coastline. Communities that will be served by the Hartford Line are planning transit-oriented development projects around their stations, including Meriden, which already has a mixed-use development in construction right across the street from the station. With this agreement, we are taking the next steps to achieve a best-in-class transportation system.”
The State Bond Commission will vote next week to approve an allocation of $155 million to complete construction of the future Hartford Line, a final installment to upgrade the line and launch expanded rail service. As part of the agreement, Amtrak will deliver service with a clear ceiling for costs and a clear timetable for completion.
This action brings the total funding for programs in this corridor to $643 million, $208 million of federal funds and $435 million of state funds. The cost for the upgrade of the Hartford Line is $570 million. An additional $73 million is being spent on related corridor investments, including adding a platform at the State Street station, renovations at the Berlin station, continuing the design of five new stations along the corridor and studying the realignment of the line in Hartford as part of the overall I-84 viaduct alternatives.
“Since the original bond allocation in 2010 for expanded rail service between New Haven and Springfield, much has changed,” said Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker. “Federal grant awards were obligated far below the levels requested and the project had to be re-scoped to attempt to fit within the authorized funding. In addition, once design progressed, it was determined that existing track, bridges, culverts and grade crossings required far more work than originally anticipated. \ I am pleased that partnering with Amtrak and the Federal Railroad Administration resulted in substantial reductions to the potential budget exposure with a ‘not-to-exceed’ estimate to complete the project.”
New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Rail Program funding has also been used to advance a number of initiatives that will support the new service. Funds were provided to match federal grants for the construction of a new platform at the State Street Station to allow for the future Hartford Line Service, for the study of a rail alignment through Hartford that would allow for expanded rail service while coordinating with the replacement of I-84 and for completing preliminary engineering for the stations that are not yet in construction.
This request reflects a number of cost-saving measures, including reduction of certain non-essential elements of the scope by FRA and a not-to-exceed offer from Amtrak that will limit the state’s exposure to future cost and schedule overruns.
Current program estimates indicate that construction on the future Hartford Line will extend into late 2017 with a service launch no later than January 2018.