A Connecticut congressman says a proposed new Amtrak line that would speed up rail travel between Boston and New York City would butcher the shoreline towns it cuts through and he'll work to block any funding to build it.
Federal railroad regulators are considering proposed changes for Amtrak's Boston-to-Washington Northeast Corridor route over the coming decades. One recommendation would create a straighter route for high-speed trains through coastal eastern Connecticut and southwest Rhode Island.
U.S. Rep. Joe Courtney, a Connecticut Democrat, said Monday that he expressed vehement opposition to the plan to the House Appropriations Committee, whose members would have to sign off on funding for the project. Courtney said it's a "pre-emptive strike."
Connecticut's congressional delegation will make sure no funding moves forward, Courtney said.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, is a member of the Senate committee that oversees transportation issues. Blumenthal described the bypass through Connecticut and Rhode Island as a "fantasy plan" for bureaucrats in Washington that's a nightmare for local residents.
"We are totally and urgently engaged to block it," Blumenthal said Monday.
Blumenthal said he discussed the bypass proposal with Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. He said he'll insist on abandoning it as a condition of allotting any additional planning money for changes to the Northeast Corridor route. Some Rhode Island lawmakers also oppose the plan.
The Federal Railroad Administration said Monday that it will continue accepting and reviewing feedback until it publishes a decision, which isn't expected before March 1.
Railroad officials have said the proposals are just recommendations for the future of East Coast rail travel and it will now be up to states, cities, railroads and the administration of Republican President Donald Trump to decide whether to move forward with any specific projects.