Julie Carroccia’s Comments at the Drop the Bypass Rally in Stonington

Julie Carroccia spoke on behalf of Charlestown at the Rally against the Bypass held in Mystic Connecticut on February 11, 2017. Other speakers were US Senator Richard Blumenthal, Loren Spears of the Narragansett Indian Tribe and many others. Julie Carroccia is Vice President of the Charlestown Town Council.

Julie Carroccia
Julie Carroccia

It’s great to see so many people here today to support our common cause of getting the Old Saybrook to Kenyon Bypass Taken out of the Tier 1 Record of Decision

I’d like to reaffirm that we do not oppose high speed rail and we want the FRA to make improvements on the current right of way.

That is the way to get:

  • infrastructure jobs more quickly
  • eliminate wasteful spending
  • and improve rail service without destroying our towns

In Charlestown alone, we had huge impacts that were not identified by the FRA when they selected this bypass route and failed to give us adequate notice

  • 19 properties with permanent conservation easements
  • sensitive tribal property
  • historic villages
  • multi-generational farms
  • a wild and scenic river

FRA does not care about how important these are to our citizens and our tourist economy

  • impacts that would require our town to litigate if the FRA does not remove the bypass from the Tier 1 EIS
  • we’d have to legally tie up the Northeast Corridor project for years, delaying infrastructure jobs and better rail service

On the financial side, the FRA has not provided a cost benefit analysis that is able to economically support this expensive plan

  • we already have high speed rail through Charlestown that goes faster than the proposed route would allow and doesn’t waste over a billion dollars!!
  • Let’s not waste the taxpayer’s money for no gain

The FRA tells us this is just a “a representational route” in Tier 1

  • our town-and many others- have this sword hanging over our head and property values are significantly reduced.
  • This is not fair to our property owners and may be out there for the next 30-50 years
Julie Carroccia
Julie Carroccia

There should be no problem taking the bypass out of Tier 1 as the FRA said the route could move5 miles in Tier 2. THE SOLUTION TO OUR PROBLEM SEEMS SO SIMPLE…GET IT OUT OF TIER 1! WE DON’T WANT TO WAIT FOR TIER 2!!!

In summary, the FRA has put Charlestown in a terrible position. We have had a town meeting with approximately 500 attendees (largest we ever had) and a petition with 2700 signatures. No one was in favor of the bypass. EVERYONE WANTS THE BYPASS OUT OF TIER 1. WE DON’T WANT TO WAIT FOR TIER 2!

While we have made some progress with our RI politicians, we need MORE support from our congressional delegation and our governor to firmly tell the FRA TO TAKE THE BYPASS OUT OF THE TIER 1 RECORD OF DECISION.

The crowd here today in this cold, wet weather is telling the FRA, our RI congressional delegation and our RI governor that WE WANT THE OLD SAYBROOK TO KENYON BYPASS OUT OF THE TIER 1 RECORD OF DECISION!!!