WILTON, Conn. -- State Sen. Toni Boucher (R-New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, Westport, Wilton, Bethel) released the following statement about the retirement announcement from Metro-North President Howard Permut:
Mr. Permut made the right decision. It has become increasingly clear Metro-North no longer has the credibility or safety standards required to run the most heavily traveled rail line in the country.
During the last six months, passengers have witnessed and lived through some troubling incidents. Four commuters, a train employee and a pedestrian have been killed. More than 100 passengers have been injured. In addition, egregious cases of fraud, abuse, and neglect have been uncovered. Nonexistent oversight and bad management practices have led to hazardous and risky conditions on this rail line and have put our commuters at great risk for their personal safety. This is unacceptable.
I have asked the state department of transportation and Gov. Dannel Malloy to request an oversight board in charge of monitoring Metro North until the rail line operator can prove it is functioning safely and reliably.
It is my hope the new Metro-North president will welcome an oversight board and give this turnaround his full focus and ability.
The Federal Railroad Administration has issued an emergency order requiring Metro-North to make several changes aimed at improving safety. These included a directive to have two people in place to operate trains until the railroad updated its signal system.
The federal agency has also begun a first ever sweeping investigation of a passenger railroad focused on Metro-North’s operations and “safety culture."
The new leadership should also immediately meet with its number one customer- the Connecticut Department of Transportation, the Connecticut General Assembly’s Transportation Committee and the Connecticut Commuter Council to learn about their issues, concerns and priorities as our taxpayers pay 65 percent of the costs.