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ENFIELD — U.S. Rep. Joseph D. Courtney, D-2nd District, has submitted a request for $4 million in federal assistance to help fund the town’s future train platform in the Thompsonville section through a new program called Member-Designated Projects.
The state Department of Transportation is the sponsor behind the request, which involves funding to renovate the Amtrak Rail Bridge over Main Street, according to Courtney’s proposal.
Town Manager Christopher Bromson announced at Monday night’s Town Council meeting that Courtney had formally submitted the request on April 23.
“We really are moving full speed ahead on this train station,” Bromson said.
Through the member designated projects, each member of Congress can submit proposals for up to $20 million in infrastructure plans for their district. The requests go before the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure for consideration.
Courtney submitted a request for $4 million, or 20% of the total $20 million available, to fund one part of the train platform project.
Specifically, the portion of the train platform project that would be funded through this request is the shifting of the bridge that crosses Main Street. The bridge would be moved slightly to the west to provide a straighter track alignment and also raised up to increase clearances for trucks and busses passing under the bridge.
At the moment it is unknown which of Courtney’s member designated project requests, if any, would be approved for funding
“There’s no 100% guarantee, but it shows the commitment of the congressman that he made it a number one ask,” Bromson said.
This is the latest effort from Courtney to secure federal funding for the train platform in Enfield. In early April, he announced the possibility that President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion infrastructure bill proposal could include a 40% increase to state departments of transportation for infrastructure spending.
Patrick Cassidy, Courtney’s spokesman, said Tuesday that no federal funding is guaranteed yet.
“The path forward is a little unclear,” Cassidy said.
He added that although nothing is finalized, Courtney has decided the platform project is a top priority as far as state infrastructure is concerned, which is why he’s been exploring different avenues for federal funding.
The DOT signed on as a project sponsor in the member designated project proposal, showing its commitment to the project as well.
In a letter to Courtney, DOT Commissioner Joseph J. Giulietti expressed his support.
“The department is also fully committed to completing the project,” Giulietti said in the letter.
The letter also said that the platform project will be added to the DOT’s upcoming fiscal year State Transportation Improvement Plan, indicating that state funds will be made available for the project as well.
For Bromson, this is another reason to get excited about the project.
“This isn’t theoretical anymore,” Bromson said. “It’s real.”
He said officials are still hoping construction on the project can begin in 2022. Estimates are that that the project would take approximately a year to complete, he added.