State leaders are looking to clean up what seems to be a constant Metro North mess with federal intervention, by calling on the federal government to hold the rail service accountable.
“Metro North has been like a horror movie for the past year.”
A horror movie brought to life. Just last year, Metro North had a derailment in the Bronx resulting in four fatalities, and a collision near Bridgeport causing over 70 injuries. This coupled with electrical problems, long-term delays, and service shutdowns has state legislators speaking out.
“The situation continues to get worse and worse and worse,” says State Rep. Gaul Lavielle.
State leaders voiced their concerns at a press conference in Hartford Monday. They also signed a letter urging federal and Metro-North officials to take action. Legislators say a 60-year contract with the rail service has the State’s hands tied.
“This contract we have with Metro North actually holds Connecticut hostage,” Lavielle says. “There is no leverage that the state has to make Metro North do what it ought to be doing.”
Local leaders further expressed their concerns at the Fairfield Metro Station later Monday.
“In the past, it’s always been a situation where people have confidence and believed that they were gonna get there safely,” says State Rep. Tony Hwang. “That has not been the case lately.”
“That derailment; that’s real scary stuff right there,” says Bridgeport resident and daily commuter Luis Vargas.
“I am concerned of my safety, and especially with the weather today,” says Trumbull resident Lauren Rodriguez. “Sometimes I would prefer to take a car.”
And safety isn’t the only thing that concerns some of the 40 million passengers who take the New Haven Line each year.
“The fact that the trains stop running at two in the morning; I feel like they should run 24 hours a day,” says Vargas.
“They are not up charging and as of the new year, prices went up, and it hasn’t accommodated anyone really,” Rodriguez says.
“The trains are very crowded and I recently heard them talking about trying to increase ridership, which I find interesting because it’s hard to find a seat on the train,” says Bridgeport resident Lauren Rockwell.
Legislators say the problem isn’t just with Metro-North. On Sunday, Governor Malloy announced a $10 million plan to upgrade the electric infrastructure of the New Haven Line, but leaders say the state needs to do more.
“There are four rail bridges among the Metro North line between New Haven and Greenwich that over a hundred years old, have all failed inspections,” says State Senator John Mckinney.
“There needs to be more funding, probably upwards of a billion dollars really, to modernize both the main New Haven Line and the branch lines.”