Letter: Eliminating Train Service to New Canaan Is Not the Answer

Dear Editor:

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!

Sincerely,

Laura Barker

Owner, elm restaurant

New Canaan

8 thoughts on “Letter: Eliminating Train Service to New Canaan Is Not the Answer

  1. Thank you Laura Barker for writing this letter. The trains will effect all the businesses including Waveny Care Center and Grace Farms. Not to mention creating traffic congestion on our roads. Besides New Canaan, Springdale and Glembrook will also be effected. Children and relatives coming home. And it will cripple our real estate. It is erroneous accounting to think only Peak hour commuters are using the train service. Given our contribution in taxes they should upgrade our service not cut it.

  2. Well stated, Laura. We should be augmenting rail service, not cutting it back. It’s good for the planet, and it’s good for people.

  3. Great letter Laura! $233,683,052.72 in total taxes to the state and we get back $.01 for every dollar…this is what prompted the Boston Tea Party in 1773! Just imagine what we could do if we kept the $234M! We could build a high speed train, deck the lumberyard, build a new library, build a retirement community, eliminate parking fees, pave all our roads, renovate the playhouse and Vine Cottage…come on New Canaan residents and business owners, let’s take some action!

  4. Lets buy our own Train — and run it on their line
    from NC to Stamford — lets get a second and bigger train
    and run it from NC to NYC — bypass all the stops
    a direct train — should cut 15-25 min off the ride
    maybe more — just dreaming — maybe

  5. Wonderful letter Laura! Bravo! You should send this on to our local state representatives, including Tom O’Dea, Tony Boucher, and Fred Wilms, all local Republicans to let them know you support the lock box provision to keep transportation funds locked in the State Transportation Fund AND installing tolls on our roads!

  6. Bravo Laura. Succinct and true. I will add that additionally people like myself use the train into Manhattan “ off peak” constantly. I go into the D&D building in NYC to find things for my local business all the time. My daughter and her friends go into NYC on the weekends to shop, go to plays etc. My friend Debbie goes into NYC every week to take a language class. Many, not few, will be affected.

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