November 9, 2009

Live with Larson, part 1

Mayor Art Ward is introducing the congressman, telling everyone here at Nuchies that U.S. Rep. John Larson has been a great friend of Bristol.
Ward is pointing out how important Larson is to Bristol and beyond.
"We all have reservations about what the final package is going to be," Ward said, "but the health care system does need to be addressed."
Now Mike Nicastro, the chamber chief, is busy introducing dignitaries, including state Reps. Bill Hamzy, Frank Nicastro and David McCluskey (of West Hartford). My boss, Mike Schroeder, even got a plug.
Sitting next to each other are T.J. Barnes and Elliott Nelson, the heads of the two local political parties. Maybe it's early, but they're getting along fine.
Now Nicastro has some kind of slide show to plug the chamber's agenda.
Depot Square was once the heart and soul of the city. "It was the pulse of the city of Bristol," Nicastro said.
Let's hope that's not true now, given that it's mostly a lot full of rubble.
But Nicastro is pointing out the value of the trains and trolleys back in the day. The automobile, of course, changed all that, Nicastro said.
"We were promised a piece of that highway future, but never really got it," Nicastro said.
Downtown was razed, he said, and Route 72 was a long-delayed promise.
"We ripped down the downtown. We built a mall," Nicastro said.
Now the mall is gone "and the future lies before us," he said.
Route 72 is 55 years late and won't get us where we want to be, Nicastro said. Now it's necessary to get the old rail line again, with a transit hub and an ability to move people.
It's worked elsewhere, Nicastro said.
He's pointing out the success of Portland, Oregon and Portland, Maine in using rail transit to grow and prosper. They've built their stations and are seeing great success, he said.
What's in the way of success here?
"We have a busway proposed. We're not anti-busway, but it is in the way. It is a monolothic, one single-minded approach," he said, and will take five years or more.
"We're at a tipping point in our community and we need to make changes," he said. "We haven't got 55 years and we haven't got 10 years."
We have a partner with Pan-Am Railways and Norfolk Southern.
"It's time to move forward," Nicastro said. "We've got schedules already in place and ready to go."
It would be cheaper to rely on rails instead of the busway.
Nicastro said a healthy Bristol is important to New Britain and vice versa. He said there's money to use for improvements.
Help state and regional officials to make it work.
"What was old can be new again," Nicasto said.

Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.
Contact Steve Collins at


Odin said...

All the Bristol politicians are jumping on the train bandwagon because it diverts public attention away from Bristol's real problems, like the magician who distracts you with a flashy hand movement. It ain't gonna happen in their lifetime, but it's really cool so they all want to talk about it.

The train from Bristol to Hartford runs through New Britain, so it won't get you there any quicker than the busway from New Britain. It will, however, cost an astronomical amount of money to develop (all the railbeds are shot), to equip (you can buy ten buses for the cost of one railroad car), and to operate (railroad union employees...they INVENTED the term "featherbedding").

Hey, everybody who thinks they might pay $10 to ride this train from Bristol to Hartford everyday, raise your hand! Hmmm. I don't see any hands. Now, everybody who might pay $3 to ride the busway from NB to Hartford everyday. I thought so.

Anonymous said...

Odin - why is it that only you can answer your questions? The amazing part is that you got the answer to your own question wrong.

Here's better one. Who from Bristol would drive to New Britain to take a bus to Hartford no matter how cheap?

I won't ask for any hands because unlike you I don't have imaginary people responding to my self serving questions.