Governor Lamont Announces Connecticut Department of Transportation and City of New Haven Sign Partnership Agreement on Union Station
NEW HAVEN, CT (STL.News) Governor Ned Lamont, Mayor Justin Elicker, U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro, Connecticut Transportation Commissioner Joseph Giulietti, State Representative and Transportation Chair Roland Lemar, Alder Carmen Rodriguez, Park New Haven representatives, and other officials gathered today at New Haven Union Station to sign a new lease establishing a partnership agreement designed to launch a new era in the management of the two rail stations in New Haven owned by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT).
The terms of the partnership, recently approved by the New Haven Board of Alders, include operations at New Haven’s Union and State Street stations, capital improvements to the Union Station campus, and other planned improvements to the station area.
The signing comes a year after the centennial celebration of the station. It was designed by noted American architect Cass Gilbert, opened on April 5, 1920, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. With its ornate ceilings, elegant chandeliers, grand clock suspended from the ceiling, long oak benches, and waiting hall with high, arched windows, the station is considered an architectural gem. Architect Cass Gilbert also designed the U.S. Supreme Court building, several state capitol buildings, public libraries, and museums, and the famed Woolworth building in Manhattan.
Governor Lamont and other officials praised the hard work and dedication of transit workers on the frontlines and behind the scenes as Connecticut works through the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The New Haven Union Station Partnership establishes a new 35-year lease and funding agreement between CTDOT and the City of New Haven. The lease has two 10-year extension options that will allow the city (through Park New Haven) to lease and operate the Union Station Transportation Campus. Plans call for revamping the basement and first two floors of the station to allow for new retail and additional amenity options for commuters, improving vertical access (stairs, elevators, and escalators) to enable future adaptive reuse of the upper station floors, and expanding public restrooms. In addition, the surface lots on the Union Station Campus will be redeveloped through a public-private partnership, including construction of new intermodal space for bike, transit, and additional parking in the form of a 600-space parking garage. The agreement establishes an executive oversight panel consisting of the New Haven mayor and the CTDOT commissioner, responsible for strategic planning, annual budget direction, resolution of major issues, and redevelopment of the station campus.
“Union Station has been a vital passenger hub for a century, and it remains one of the most magnificent stations in the nation,” Governor Lamont said. “This partnership agreement between the City of New Haven and the Connecticut Department of Transportation positions the station to be both preserved and modernized to meet the transportation needs of the city and state for the 21st century and beyond.”
“Today, I want to invite everyone to step back and marvel at the history and beauty of this station,” Mayor Elicker said. “Then take a minute to recognize the significance of Union Station to our community wellbeing and the fact this 100-year-old train station serves as a transportation hub and a vital connector to cities and towns throughout our country. With housing units in the development pipeline and a growing center of excellence in the biosciences, we will continue to move forward with inclusive growth in the Hill to Downtown district and now we will have a robust transportation system including a strong regional airport, to support it.”
“All of the parties to this partnership recognize the importance of a transportation center like Union Station to New Haven and the State of Connecticut,” Connecticut Transportation Commissioner Joe Giulietti said. “A railroad station connects us and keeps us moving forward. For the last 100 years, Union Station has been a familiar, welcoming junction where literally millions of people have embarked on journeys and come home again. The agreement signed today ensures that it will continue to be a centerpiece of transportation infrastructure in Connecticut and evolve in ways that meet the future transportation needs of our state.”
“Union Station has a special place in my life, and it is heartening to see federal, state, and local stakeholders working together to both preserve it and help it evolve as a transportation hub,” Congresswoman DeLauro said. “While growing up in Wooster Square, I traveled daily through the station’s grand hall to get to school at Lauralton Hall. I remember loving the model trains on the long benches as I passed through, and I still do each of the countless times I have passed through on my way to Washington and back over the last 30 years. My thanks to all the workers who have kept Union Station running during the worst of the pandemic and who continue to do so each and every day.”
Union Station connects the New Haven Line running into New York City, the Hartford Line heading north to Hartford and Springfield, and Shoreline East, which goes east to New London. It is also one of the key links on Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor, from Boston to Washington and points beyond.