State Bond Commission approves funds for park, train and camp projects

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New Metro North Station Approved For Bridgeport

New rail stations, more open space, and a shot in the arm for Camp Courant will happen after hundreds of millions of dollars in bonds were approved on Monday by the State Bond Commission.

Gov. Dan Malloy chaired the meeting, which was packed as attendees watched the commission approve 41 requests.

One of the measures was to approve the purchase of more than 900 acres of land, also known as “The Preserve,” in Old Saybrook and Westbrook for $2 million. The land will be state-owned, remaining protected and open to the public.

Also on the agenda: the largest financial gift Camp Courant has ever received in its 120 years of offering a free summer camp to Hartford kids. A total of $850,000 will go toward a new pool, pool house, basketball courts and other improvements to the grounds in Farmington. “It’s a very humbling experience and a really historical day for the children of Hartford,” said Camp Courant’s executive director and CEO, Josh Reese.

Gov. Malloy took time after the meeting to tout $5.75 million dollars for design plans on six new rail stations, along with improvements to stations in Windsor Locks and Windsor.

Malloy says the new train stations on the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield commuter line will include North Haven, West Hartford, Newington and Enfield. It’s expected to be up and running by next year. Between New Haven and New York the state will build new stations in Orange and Bridgeport. A location study was also approved for Hamden.

“These train stations and the new commuter line are great examples of how we can do things together and transform Connecticut,” said Malloy. “Frankly, to catch up with other states in the nation that have made these sizeable investments.”

Malloy made it clear that transportation concerns are at the top of his agenda.

Republican state Sen. Scott Frantz agrees that Connecticut needs updating, but he’s concerned about how we can afford it. “The federal government isn’t in the position to give us any significant increase in funding so where are we going to get it, is it going to be from toll revenue? Is it going to be from an increase gas tax?  Or another funding source?  We don’t know,” said Frantz.

More details will become known when Malloy presents his budget to the legislature in February.