Not what a new governor from Fairfield County wants to hear: Metro-North cutbacks

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy doesn’t want this problem to get away from him.

The news that Metro-North is slashing service on the North Haven line due to storm and maintenance issues is a red flag any politician from Fairfield County can recognize. Exactly at a time when commuters to NYC are looking to rail, the regional train service is making mass transit less attractive.

Malloy’s press office announced late this afternoon that the governor called Metro-North Railroad President Howard Permut to discuss how service can be normalized.

“Hailing from Fairfield County, I know all too well what a reduction in service or reliability on the New Haven line means for commuters in the area,” Malloy said. “That’s why I felt it was important to call Howard to ask about any and all alternative options for commuters. Let me be clear: This isn’t about placing blame. We’ve had a record-breaking winter in terms of our weather, and our railcars and service facilities have not been kept up in the manner they should have been. We all know this is true. So in addition to my long-term focus on improving Metro-North’s reliability and functionality, I’m also focused on this short-term service reduction and ways in which we can help commuters get into and out of New York City more easily.”

The governor’s office says Permut told Malloy that Metro-North is operating under an expedited repair schedule, with crews working around the clock to put cars back in service as quickly as they can. Permut said that the lack of shop space has been an impediment.

In addition to funding for the last batch of new M8 rail cars on order, Malloy also has put funding for the New Haven rail yard on the agenda for the Bond Commission, which is set to approve borrowing for the purchase and yard improvements.

The commission has had the same problem as Metro-North. The weather has caused cancellations of commission meetings.