Here is the first analysis of Record of Decision from SECoast

So… yes, let’s celebrate…. you deserve it… and then let’s roll up our sleeves and get back at it…

SeCoast is our sister organization in Connecticut working to protect the land and towns in the Old Saybrook to Kenyon Bypass and beyond. They have been invaluable in this effort to remove the Bypass from the NEC Future plan. Below is their first analysis of the Record of Decision, released Wednesday, July 12, 2017. We will have more analysis in the days to come. The author below is Gregory Stroud.

We have been overwhelmed with media outreach and interviews over the last 24 hours…I am sorry that we have been very quiet here on the site today as a result. We will have much more detailed analysis of the next few days, but let me briefly explain what has just happened.

We see this as a split decision. For southeastern Connecticut, this Record of Decision offers a major reprieve from the impacts of the proposed Kenyon to Old Saybrook Bypass. Quadtracking between Branford and Guilford has also been dropped from the plan. But in contrast, in Fairfield County, the Federal Railroad Administration has selected a New Rochelle to Greens Farms rail bypass which poses equally significant economic, historic, and environmental impacts. It’s reasonable for residents of Norwalk, Darien, and Greenwich to ask why they were treated differently.

I would like to say that the early, strong, and bipartisan leadership on the issue from Senator Blumenthal, Congressman Courtney, State Sen. Formica and State Rep. Carney played no small part in the particular success we’ve achieved east of New Haven. Rob Vavasour in Guilford and Jon Wilson in Stony Creek deserve significant thanks for their grassroots work on the Branford and Guilford quadtracking. I believe it was crucial. Jo Conboy and the Greenwich Preservation Trust have been strong advocates in Fairfield County, and we intend to work vigorously to reach a good result there despite the disappointing selection of the New Rochelle to Greens Farms Bypass as part of the Record of Decision. Lisa Konicki, executive director of the Ocean Community Chamber of Commerce has been enormously effective and influential both in Rhode Island and in Connecticut.

And let me say that the entire Northeast Corridor owes a debt of gratitude to the leadership and work, late in coming, but remarkably effective, from the Charlestown Citizens Alliance, and the Charlestown government. It has been a model effort on their part as a local government. Let us all learn from them.

We believe that the announced NEC Future Record Of Decision represents significant progress. It is a victory of sorts. And we believe that the sort of changes affected in the Record of Decision are unprecedented in a federal project of this type and scope. That said, until we arrive at a solution to real capacity, speed, and resiliency issues along the Northeast Corridor through southeastern Connecticut and southern Rhode Island, there remains a significant threat to Old Lyme, Mystic, Stonington, Westerly and Charlestown, as well as to Branford, Guilford and Stony Creek.

As proposed, the Record of Decision requires a 2:45 travel time between Boston and New York, and proposes a planning process which would partner the CT DOT, RI DOT with the FRA to develop a solution that delivers this federally-mandated result. As such, there is much work ahead. This Record of Decision does not assure a good solution, nor does it assure a better process, it does however, provide the communities of southeastern Connecticut with a some breathing room. As we move forward SECoast and the Connecticut Trust will continue to engage this issue, and push for a better planning process in the next stage. We do not expect this new planning process in southeastern Connecticut or southern Rhode Island to be an immediate priority for the FRA.

So… yes, let’s celebrate…. you deserve it… and then let’s roll up our sleeves and get back at it…

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