Railway Comments by Deborah Carney

Railway Comments by Deborah Carney during the November 8, 2021 Town

Council Meeting


During the August 10, 2021 Town Council meeting, the Town Council unanimously

approved the following motion:

“To authorize the Town Administrator to draft a letter to the Northeast Corridor

Commission, to be signed by the entire Town Council, requesting that the Charlestown

Town Council be included in the discussion of any proposed railway route that will pass

through any part of Charlestown. The letter will include a request for a breakdown of the

process that will be followed by the NECC and also a timeline for the railway project and

will reaffirm our opposition to the 2017 plan and to authorize the Town Administrator to

take whatever action necessary to protect the Town from a railway passing through

Charlestown.”


DOT Director Peter Alviti is RI’s representative on the Northeast Corridor Commission.

I emailed Director Alviti and asked if he would be willing to meet with representatives

from Charlestown to discuss the NECC process, his views on how AMTRAK will deal

with the gap in railway service and get his assurance that RI does not want to revive

the Old Saybrook - Kenyon Bypass.


Director Alviti was gracious enough to accept the request. On November third we had a

meeting with Director Alviti, and Steve Devine from the DOT. In attendance from

Charlestown were myself, Council Vice President Cody Clarkin, Town Administrator

Mark Stankiewicz and Kim Coulter one of the owners of the Stony Hill Cattle Farm in

Charlestown, Representative Blake Filippi, Senator Elaine Morgan, and Sue

Stenhouse Chief of Staff for the House Minority Office.


It was a very productive and informative meeting. Kim Colter effectively relayed our

opposition to the Old Saybrook - Kenyon Bypass.


Director Alviti reported that AMTRAK will do a market analysis between New Haven and

Providence to see if it warrants additional study. The study will begin in early 2022 and

will take about a year to complete.


The study does not include any designs or scope of work. The analysis should have

been done at the beginning of the process. The railway in RI is already among the

fastest on the route.


He stated this is a long complex process. The first step is to determine if there is even a

need for this. He said he cannot promise there will never be a need, but it is currently

not in the ten year plan.


He also said the DOT was focusing its attention and funds on the Providence to Boston

Route


Director Alviti told us he would keep us in the loop with updates. I set up an email group

with all the participants from the November third meeting and will follow up once a

month for any updates.



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