What is Connecticut\u2019s relationship with Metro-North?\u00a0 Client \u2014 vendor?\u00a0 Shared partnership?\u00a0 Stockholm syndrome?\u00a0 Or is the railroad a \u201cfanged sloth\u201d hanging around our neck? All of those analogies has been made to the state\u2019s 30+ year relationship with Metro-North, part of NY\u2019s Metropolitan Transportation Authority.\u00a0 But given their dismal safety record and deteriorating service in recent years, many have asked, \u201cis it time to fire Metro-North and find someone else to run our trains?\u201d I posed that very question almost four years ago and people were shocked, not knowing that such a thing was even possible.\u00a0 Now there are even laws being considered in Hartford to rid us of the railroad. But, even though Metro-North works for us, CDOT\u2019s Commissioner Jim Redeker says they should not\u00a0...\u00a0in fact, cannot\u00a0...\u00a0be replaced. Mr. Redeker recently testified that Metro-North is uniquely qualified and staffed to run a commuter rail operation of its size and that there are no other potential competitors he\u2019d consider as operator, let alone try to build our own agency from scratch.\u00a0 On this point he\u2019s probably right. Where he\u2019s wrong is in arguing that replacing Metro-North would mean we wouldn\u2019t be allowed to run \u201cour trains\u201d into \u201ctheir station," Grand Central. There are plenty of railroads with operating rights on others\u2019 tracks.\u00a0 NJ Transit has no trouble getting into Penn Station. Virginia Railway Express runs into downtown DC. \u00a0 Does Commissioner Redeker really think that our Congressional delegation couldn\u2019t force the MTA to give us access to GCT?\u00a0 It wouldn\u2019t be an easy fight, but this is certainly no deal-breaker to replacing Metro-North. Alternative #3 is to renegotiate our contract with the railroad. This opportunity only presents itself every five years, and 2015 is one of those windows. \u00a0 Maybe we should get them to commit to service standards, as their current contract has no metrics to measure their performance.\u00a0 But again, Commissioner Redeker seems reticent to fight for our state or its commuters. He reminded lawmakers that the last time Connecticut arbitrated the contract we were out-smarted and ending up with a worse deal than we\u2019d had before.\u00a0 The MTA\u2019s army of lawyers took us to the cleaners, costing us millions more in payments to Metro-North each year.\u00a0 Apparently Commissioner thinks we\u2019re not smart enough to negotiate a better deal, so why even try. So, just to recap\u00a0...\u00a0our Commissioner of Transportation says we have no real options, that we have to work with Metro-North, but we\u2019re probably not savvy enough to get any better deal than we have now.\u00a0 So let\u2019s just wave the white flag before the battle begins and keep paying $70+ million a year for lousy train service. Now there is inspired leadership!\u00a0 Declare defeat and just walk away.\u00a0 Let the \u201cfanged sloth\u201d continue to hang around our necks.\u00a0 We really have no choice. Suck it up because Metro-North, our vendor, is running the show. Jim Cameron\u00a0is founder of The Commuter Action Group.\u00a0 The opinions expressed in this column are only his own.\u00a0 You can reach him at CommuterActionGroup@gmail.com. \u00a0 For a full collection of \u201cTalking Transportation\u201d columns, see www.talkingtransportation.blogspot.com.