Governor Dannel P. Malloy and top federal, state and local officials today held a ceremonial groundbreaking for Connecticut's first rapid transit system, CTfastrak, in Hartford. Known informally during the planning stages as the New Britain-Hartford Busway, the project will include 11 stations in New Britain, Newington, West Hartford and Hartford with buses running every three to six minutes during peak commuting hours.
"CTfastrak is an important part of Connecticut's overall investment in transportation," said Governor Malloy. "For years, Connecticut public transit has languished--outdated systems and antiquated infrastructure have slowed travelers, commuters, and commerce. With the investment in bus rapid transit, putting new railcars in service in southern Connecticut, and moving forward to build interstate higher speed rail, we are well on our way to turning the page on years of neglect. Thanks to the support of Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, legislative leaders and advocates, we are creating jobs, modernizing our infrastructure, and bolstering our economy."
Today's ceremony was held at the site of the future Parkville Station in Hartford at the corner of Park Street and Francis Avenue. In addition to CTfastrak, the new elements of a statewide public transportation branding campaign created under the "CTrides" name were also introduced.
CTfastrak is being constructed on an abandoned railroad corridor from New Britain to Hartford's Union Station alongside the active Amtrak rail right-of-way. Buses will operate from approximately 4:30 a.m. to 1:30 a.m. In addition to regular service, express bus services from west of New Britain will use CTfastrak to improve service and travel times between New Britain and Hartford by way of a dedicated bus exit onto CTfastrak from Interstate 84/Route 72. Buses will also use the 9.4-mile corridor to provide direct service to major employment sites such as the UConn Medical Center, Westfarms Mall, Central Connecticut State University and throughout downtown New Britain and Hartford. Service is expected to begin in late 2014.
"CTfastrak is going places -- fast," said Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James P. Redeker. "Connecticut's first regional rapid transit system will take commuter vehicles off I-84 and create new public transportation opportunities along this corridor."
The federal government will cover $455 million of the $567 million project cost, with the remaining $112 million funded by the state. An estimated 4,000 construction jobs and at least 100 permanent jobs will result.
The first construction segment of the project will begin on a 5.8-mile stretch that begins near Cedar Street in Newington and runs north to Sigourney Street in Hartford. The $130 million contract for this segment also includes the construction of seven stations, a new $19.9 million bridge at Flatbush Avenue in West Hartford, and the construction of a new gravel maintenance road for Amtrak.
CTfastrak will link all local routes in the New Britain and Hartford areas. With express and feeder routes that directly access the dedicated roadway, the CTfastrak system will benefit a large geographic area and provide a no transfer ride to regional employment, shopping and healthcare destinations.
Eleven landscaped transit stations along the way will enhance local communities with increased access and development opportunities. A 5-mile multi-use trail for pedestrians and cyclists offers more transportation choices. Service goes well beyond the dedicated roadway, connecting to more than 110 miles of local and express transit routes and the interstate rail system, with destinations throughout the entire region -- from New Haven to Springfield, Waterbury and beyond.
For more information about CTfastrak, connect via Facebook at www.facebook.com/ctfastrak, via Twitter at @ctfastrak, or visit www.ctfastrak.com.