I am writing to you today as a 23 year resident and owner of a small business (elm restaurant) in New Canaan. This email letter is an appeal to ask for caution in how the Connecticut Department of Transportation decides to go about handling its budget gap. Cutting off-peak service to the New Canaan spur is not the answer!
New Canaan is a vibrant, small town of 20,000-plus people. Many of our residents commute to New York City for work and depend on train service during peak and off peak times. But I’m sure they know all this?
New Canaan is not the largest town in Connecticut, but pays $233,683,052.72 in total taxes to the state and gets back $.01 for every dollar it sends to Hartford. But I’m sure they know all this?
New Canaan real estate values have dropped considerably because of policies in Hartford and people are flocking to no or low income tax states en masse. But I’m sure they know all of this?
New Canaan commuters would not be the only ones in New Canaan to suffer by eliminating off-peak service: Local retailers, restaurants (like mine), non-profits would all feel the effects of fewer trains. The Glass House just this week went on record detailing the significant negative effects this decision would have on its operations.
The vibrancy of our small town and its ability to support the rest of the state with its tax dollars is at stake. Business owners are actively talking about leaving New Canaan for other towns on the New Haven line if this goes through.
For me personally, I work hard to run my business and treat my customers and staff like family. Good help is truly very hard to find. But this potential decision will affect 100 percent of my employees—they all use the train to get to and from work every day. Most of them travel during off peak hours (weekends being our busiest time). This decision would prevent me from running my business and hurt the people who can’t afford to lose their jobs!
I’d support EZ Pass tolls on our roads over cutting back train service! Eliminating train service is not the answer! See you at the hearing at UConn Stamford on February 27th!
Owner, elm restaurant