A months-long debate over who will control New Haven’s train station has been settled. The state and city have struck a deal.
Union Station in New Haven is the Elm City’s transportation hub that serves Amtrak, Metro-North, Shoreline East, and soon a Hartford-Springfield line.
The state owns the property, but operation of the station has been shared between the city, the Parking Authority of New Haven, and the State Department of Transportation.
The city’s 35-year lease was due to expire at the end of June. New Haven has now been given a five-year extension to continue to run Union Station.
Under the agreement, the New Haven Parking Authority manages the property, and the city and state collaborate on redevelopment.
Initially, New Haven and the State Department of Transportation had different visions for the station's future, which includes the design of a new parking garage, and transit-oriented development. The state wanted eventually to take over control, and put the station’s management contract out to bid.
That didn’t sit well with New Haven’s Mayor Toni Harp, who went to lawmakers earlier this year seeking recognition for the city’s 35-year commitment to the site.
"When the state wanted to tear the building down, and just have an entrance into the underbelly up to the rail yard, we made it into something different," Harp said. "It makes money. We see this as the next most important area to develop in our city."
Included in the terms of the new deal, the state has committed to retail development; streetscaping, bike, and walkability improvements; and funding for two construction projects to build connections between New Haven’s neighborhoods and Union Station.
There will also be a study to explore limited-stop express trains from New Haven to Grand Central Station.
In a statement, Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes said;
With Metro North, Shoreline East, Amtrak, and soon the Hartford Line converging at Union Station in New Haven, I am pleased that we have found a way to move forward with the City on Union Station while keeping this asset in state hands.