NORWALK, Conn. – U.S. Rep. Jim Himes (D-4) said that it’s going to take infrastructure and creative thinking to solve Fairfield County’s transportation woes.
“First and foremost, it’s investment in modernization,” Himes said during an interview with the Daily Voice at his campaign offices in Norwalk. Himes is currently seeking re-election against Republican challenger Dan Debicella.
Himes said he has worked hard in his six years in Congress to bring nearly $760 million in federal funding to the region to improve transportation infrastructure. He pointed to successes such as $160 million in recent funding to repair the Walk Bridge in Norwalk, which has caused significant delays on Metro-North in recent months when it has been stuck in an open position.
“The federal government can provide the resources needed for us to take infrastructure which is, at best, 1950s infrastructure when we’re talking about 95 and the Merritt, and the trains, and turn it into 21st-century infrastructure that works well and safely,” he said.
Rebuilding Fairfield County’s infrastructure can also bring economic prosperity to the region, providing jobs to engineers and others who perform the work, Himes said.
“It’s not just more resources, it’s creative thinking,” he said in regards to the federal government’s role in fixing the congestion and travel problems. “One of the reasons we suffer badly on 95 here is because we move far more freight through our region on 18-wheelers than most regions in the country. Most regions move most of their freight by rail.”
That's difficult in this area because of a lack of a rail bridge over the Hudson River to New York, he said. But a long-proposed Cross Harbor Rail Bridge to New York City would allow more freight to be carried by rail and alleviate much of the tractor-trailer traffic on I-95.
“Now that’s a project that is far larger than New York can handle, than Connecticut can handle, it’s a clearly federal project,” Himes said. It could cost $6 billion, but that “it’s of national importance,” he said.
“This isn’t just about Connecticut and New York, it’s about the economy of the United States.”
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