Gov. Dannel Malloy and the U.S. Department of Transportation announced the release of $120.9 million in Federal Railroad Administration funding to Connecticut to advance the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield rail program. 

The state will match the funding with $141.9 million of its own money, Malloy said in a statement on Monday. Enhanced rail service among the three cities, the latter in western Massachusetts, is expected to start in 2016. 

This is the third of three FRA grants for the program, bringing the total federal funding to $190.9 million, which, combined with state funding of $174.7 million, makes a total investment of $365.6 million in this corridor. 

Connecticut Department of Transportation Commissioner James Redeker said the number of trains will increase from the current 12 per day to 34 by 2016.  Trains will reach speeds of up to 110 miles per hour. 

According to Redeker, the first phase of construction – the installation of underground communication cable – will begin later this month.  By the end of 2016, with the funds now in place, the entire corridor between Hartford and New Haven will be double-tracked. 

Redeker also said that a key component of the investments is installation of grade crossing protection to ensure safety along the entire corridor.  Improvements, he said, will include the addition of high-level platforms at some stations and new stations in Meriden and Wallingford.

The commissioner cited a partnership among Amtrak, freight railroads and members of the New England Compact, representing all six New England states, New York and Quebec.

Standard & Poor’s, Fitch Ratings and Kroll Bond Rating Agency all rate the state’s general obligation bonds double-A, while Moody’s Investors Service assigns an Aa3 rating. All have stable outlooks.

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