By Brandon T. Bisceglia
Long-dreamed-of plans for a train station in Orange are over for the time being, after an announcement by the state that it will pull funding for project.
The Connecticut Department of Transportation withdrew a counter-offer made to Orange Land Development, LLC to build the station.
In a Nov. 20 letter from Scott Hill, Engineering Administrator for the Bureau of Engineering and Construction at the DOT, said that the department “is not in a financial position to proceed with negotiations for or participate in the contemplated Orange Transit Oriented Development.”
“Therefore,” the letter continues, “the department will not be advancing the design and construction of the associated Orange rail station (aka the Orange Platform).”
Orange’s all-Republican state House delegation, along with Minority Leader Themis Klarides, R-Derby, released a statement blasting the administration of Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, a Democrat, for killing the project.
“The mismanagement of transportation funds by Governor Malloy is now showing. The Orange Train Station would have created jobs and relieved stress placed on the Milford and West Haven Train Stations. Governor Malloy should be prioritizing transportation funding, and focusing on the busiest rail line in the country instead of wasting taxpayers’ money on a busway or new rail lines.”
Talk of building a station in Orange along the Metro-North railroad line, which passes through the town, has been going on for several decades. The state authorized funding to start design work for the Orange Train Station earlier this year.
In December, Orange’s Town Planning & Zoning Commission approved new regulations to create a transit-oriented development district surrounding the new station if it was built.
The state has said in recent weeks that it is running out of money to fund transportation projects.