Letter: Focus on immediate rail upgrades

To the Editors:
Gov. Malloy’s generosity providing transportation funds for the Danbury Line is tantamount to putting a Band-Aid on a melanoma. Eventually, without aggressive treatment, the patient will surely die.
We appreciate Rep. Lavielle and Sen. Boucher speaking up in favor of long-term fixes and funding for electrification. However, we have been hearing that since the senator first took representative office in January 1997, nearly 19 years ago. To say that nothing has happened is an understatement. Nothing good has happened for the Danbury Line. A lot of bad has happened to the branch and our state representatives (the only ones we hear from) accurately pointed that up in last week’s article. By the time the imagined (emphasis on the reverie) refurbishment occurs, all of us who ride today will be retired. We derive no benefit.
Here is what the ridership does not understand: Why are our representatives (federal, state, local) missing the point and not focused on Danbury Line operational improvements that can be made today? Why can’t they first get us back to the poor ride we had 25 years ago (one hour, 17 minutes) rather than the abysmal one we have today (one hour, 30 minutes)? And, remember, that was before we had platforms! — making entering and exiting the train that much longer (think Merritt 7 station).
The only conclusion the ridership can come to is they lack the will to do something for us and they simply don’t care. They don’t care how difficult the longer ride has made our lives, especially as we become senior citizens and it requires four hours of our day. They don’t care that it separates parents from children and spouses from each other. They don’t care that Wilton has become unattractive to young families and they go to live in neighboring towns with much better rail service. They don’t care that it has impacted our property values.
We entreat our representatives, from the governor to the selectmen, from federal to local, please, do something to make it better today.
Nicholas R. Battista
Hickory Hill Road, Aug. 1