The State Bond Commission approved $7.8 million in borrowing Monday to design six new rail stations on the Hartford and New Haven lines and to acquire a major forest preserve in south-central Connecticut.

The commission approved $5.75 million that will be used, along with $4 million endorsed earlier, to design new stations in Enfield, West Hartford, Newington and North Haven along the north-south route known as the Hartford line and in Orange and Bridgeport along the New Haven line, which runs east-west along the shoreline.

Those funds also will help design renovations to existing stations in Danbury, Windsor and in Windsor Locks.

The state is expanding passenger service along the 62-mile corridor between New Haven and Springfield.

“Creating a commuter rail line along the I-91 corridor is part of our transformative transportation vision for Connecticut,” said Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who chairs the bond commission.  “This bond authorization will give this important project needed momentum.  Completing environmental work and design is what will propel the projects toward reality.”

Another $2 million approved Monday by the commission will be used, along with funds raised by the Trust for Public Land, to acquire a major parcel known as “The Preserve:” 924 acres in Old Saybrook and four acres in Westbrook.

Keith has spent most of his 31 years as a reporter specializing in state government finances, analyzing such topics as income tax equity, waste in government and the complex funding systems behind Connecticut’s transportation and social services networks. He has been the state finances reporter at CT Mirror since it launched in 2010. Prior to joining CT Mirror Keith was State Capitol bureau chief for The Journal Inquirer of Manchester, a reporter for the Day of New London, and a former contributing writer to The New York Times. Keith is a graduate of and a former journalism instructor at the University of Connecticut.

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