Op-Ed: Toll Revenues Could Fix Aging New York-Connecticut Rail Connection

Rather than bonds, an op-ed makes the case for electronic tolls to pay for improvements to commuter rail lines between New York City and Connecticut.

1 minute read

May 31, 2019, 11:00 AM PDT

By Philip Rojc @PhilipRojc

Metro-North Railroad

Metropolitan Transportation Authority / Patrick Cashin / Flickr

"Long commutes into New York City and within Connecticut mean our state is a less attractive place for people to live," writes Connecticut resident Michael Critelli. "People who travel into New York often drive and park at a train station and then get on subways or buses or walk to a workplace. As a result, their commute can now be close to two hours in each direction, four hours daily."

As maintenance and safety concerns pile up along MTA's Metro-North Railroad, Connecticut communities once within commuting distance of New York are becoming less attractive options. "Speed restrictions are in place in many locations where infrastructure is old and unreliable, where there are sharp curves and where there are bottlenecks caused by limited track capacity," Critelli writes. 

Bond measures to fund rail upgrades, he goes on, aren't sustainable over the long term. "With tolling we can collect user fees from the out-of-state drivers who currently get a free ride on our highways — 40 percent of tolling revenues are expected to be collected from out-of-state drivers. Tolls can also help us reduce congestion and lower vehicle emissions."

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