Letter: Legislators: What, specifically, is the rail plan?

To the Editors:

I’m happy to see that our representatives are mindful of the needs of the state and its communities. With respect to transportation, however — specifically Metro-North — what is the plan? What is the timeline for achieving it? Our various representatives have talked about improving the rails since time immemorial, including the 23 years I’ve taken the Danbury line each workday. It is, at long last, time to act. Moreover, maybe it’s time for the Wilton selectmen and those from all of the towns impacted by poor Metro-North service to intervene on our behalf as well. The daily commuter seeks redress at all levels of government.

The negative impact of poor Metro-North (Danbury line) service on people’s lives, in terms of all of the inordinately additional time we spend commuting, is immeasurable. The ride from Wilton to Grand Central is now at least 1 1/2 hours long and on many days yet longer. In 1991, it was one hour and 17 minutes — 6:52 a.m. to 8:09 a.m. Today, it’s 6:45 a.m. to 8:15, 8:20, 8:30, etc. Door to door, Wiltonians spend four hours per day commuting. It’s just too long. We need a Wilton-to-Grand Central ride that’s one hour and 10 minutes long. It’s achievable. Metro-North does it from Westport. It can be done from Wilton.

The overcrowding of roads, people driving to other railroad stations and simply driving to avoid the rails is completely avoidable and it will lessen the need to repair that infrastructure as frequently.

Finally, and very importantly, much-improved Danbury line service will increase property values in Wilton and each town up the line to Danbury. People who must commute regularly and are seeking a Connecticut home have reason to avoid towns served poorly by Metro-North, and they do. I hear this firsthand from people with young families with whom I am employed. Those young people are affluent and bring needed vitality, discretionary income and tax-paying ability to our Connecticut towns. Wilton competes with our surrounding communities for their attention.

Those of us who have endured the deteriorating commute on Metro-North implore all of our representatives: Please — after you talk about it, do something about it.

Nicholas R. Battista

Hickory Hill Road, Jan. 12