Mixed Messages For Rail Commuters

Posted on December 13, 2010. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , |

Southwestern Connecticut commuters are undoubtedly hoping that the Metro-North Railroad system will survive the inevitable forthcoming array of state budget cuts. They were recently left scratching their heads, though, by a pair of mixed messages from Governor Jodi Rell.

At first, the Governor proudly spoke at the unveiling of a new batch of rail cars that are now being added to the New Haven Line. “I couldn’t be more proud if I was the mother of this train,” boasted Rell, as she inspected the state’s $700 to $900 million purchase.

But then, just nine days later, the Governor proposed eliminating all three of Metro-North’s feeder rail lines that funnel commuters to the main line! Elimination would free up $33 million in the state budget, but without plans in place to compensate by increasing the limited parking lot capacity at the main line’s rail stations, such a move would likely make it impossible for many current feeder line passengers to access rail service and ride the new cars.

Is it reasonable to spend $900 million on train cars and then eliminate feeder access to those cars, and the rest of the rail system, to save $33 million? Rail passengers can only wait patiently to learn whether Governor Elect Dan Malloy will support his campaign promise to expand our state’s passenger rail system.

Contributed by Michael Kraten, PhD, CPA, Accounting Professor at Providence College and President of Enterprise Mgt. Corp. http://aqpq.org

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