Governor Calls For ‘Crisis Summit’ With MTA

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Friday’s Walk Bridge breakdown marks the second time in as many weeks the bridge has malfunctioned, and it is drawing the ire of Gov. Dannel Malloy.

The second bridge malfunction in the last eight days during peak service in Norwalk left thousands of passengers stranded.

The swing bridge rotates to allow large boats on the Norwalk River to pass, but again, became stuck open.

The state owns the 118-year-old bridge, and Metro North maintains it.

The bridge services 140 trains per day.

Gov. Malloy wants an emergency meeting with railroad officials in the coming days.

“We simply cannot afford peak service disruptions like this, which is why we have requested and are aggressively pursuing federal resiliency funding for this exact purpose,” wrote Malloy on Friday.

In April, Connecticut applied for $349 million in federal funding to cover the majority of the Walk Bridge replacement project.

The problem is that construction isn’t slated to start until 2018 and won’t be complete until six years after.

Republican politicians say that funding request should have come sooner, blasting Malloy’s handling of the bridge.

“Dannel Malloy has been governor for 3 1/2 years, and now he wants a transportation summit? The commuters deserve a real plan, not talk,” wrote gubernatorial candidate John McKinney.

Rep. Gail Lavielle took to twitter announcing the bridge delay to her followers and adding:  “Raiding the transportation fund has these results.”

Politics aside, the bridge is presenting a problem. It also broke down last June for more than an hour, and at its age, this breakdown probably won’t be the last.

The governor’s office says the Walk Bridge, built in 1896, will be replaced with a more resilient “bascule” bridge, which would open for water traffic from one side and would enhance safety and reliability of commuter service.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal says he’ll fight for the federal funds to replace the current bridge.

 

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