Candelaria Calls On State To Transfer Train Station Ownership To City

Markeshia Ricks Photo Juan Candelaria is bringing New Haven’s quest to control Union Station to the state’s capitol.

The New Haven state representative has introduced a bill to transfer ownership of the train station to the city.

The bill is scheduled for a hearing Monday before the state legislature’s Government, Administration, and Election Committee.

“The city has been trying to negotiate in good faith with DOT [the state Department of Transportation]. DOT has not been responsive,” Candelaria said. “Why should we bid it out when the city has been running it for 30 years? Thirty years ago, they wanted to tear it down.”

“Look where we are today,” Candelaria continued. “We have built infrastructure. We have the free bus service going downtown. We have done improvements to make it work,” Candelaria added that, in his opinion, the city has a better vision for integrating the station into the neighborhood.

The city and the state have been divided over the question over future control of the station. (Read a full story about that here.) The state owns the property. The city’s parking authority has run it — well enough to generate surpluses to plow back into the station’s maintenance — under a 35-year lease that expires this year.

The state is seeking a three-year extension of that lease, which would keep responsibility for managing the station with the city. The state also is seeking to build a $40 million-to-$60 million, 1,000-space, seven-level parking garage on a current 260-space surface lot next to the perpetually full existing garage. After three years, according to the DOT, the plan is to bid out various aspects of the management to potential new contractors.

The Harp administration wants perpetual control — and preferably ownership — of the station because of its central role in the city’s plans for “transit-oriented” economic development that would focus on a mix of retail, office, and housing. Both the city and local activists have blasted the state’s design of the second garage.

The argument over the design of the garage has centered in part over whether to connect it more to the neighborhood and include retail. Candelaria said he believes the city has a better approach than the state to making the station part of a broader urban development strategy.

A Harp administration summary memo supporting Candelaria’s bill argues calls it a good “investment in our future, not just for the City of New Haven, but for the entire state.”

“We think that control of our station should stay local, that any new buildings on the site should be designed for our residents and the local community, and that any money made at our station or in its parking garages should be reinvested back into improvements at our station,” a statement the Harp administration distributed to citizens who have expressed interest in the future of the train station.

Members of the public can submit testimony electronically to the committee about Candelaria’s bill by emailing it .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Following is a status report on bills of particular interest to New Haven before the state legislature this session:

The 2017 Agenda

Bill #StatusSummarySponsors
SB11/ HB5539Committee DeniedWould legalize, tax recreational use of marijuana.Candelaria
Dillon
Lemar
Walker
Porter
et al
SB 17Committee ApprovedWould make certain undocumented immigrant students (DREAMers) eligible for state college financial aid.Looney
HB 5434Committee ApprovedWould have CT join with other states to elect the President based on popular, rather than Electoral College, vote.Winfield,
Porter
Albis
Elliott
D'Agostino
et al.
HB 5458Committee ApprovedWould establish electronic tolls on state highways.Genga
HB 5575In CommiteeWould regulate companies such as Uber and Lyft.Scanlon
HB 5589Committee ApprovedWould expand disclosure requirements for contributions to campaign funds.Dillon
Lemar
D'Agostino
Elliott
et al.
HB 5591Passed HouseWould require equal pay for employees doing comparable work.Dillon
Walker
Lemar
Albis
D'Agostino
Elliott
et al.
HB 5703In CommiteeWould have CT enter into an agreement with other states to limit "poaching" of each other's businesses.Lemar
HJ 13In CommiteeWould amend the state constitution to permit early voting.Lemar
HJ 16In CommiteeWould amend the state constitution to permit absentee voting for all voters.Lemar
SB 1/HB 6212Committee ApprovedWould require employers to provide paid family and medical leave for their employees.Looney
SB 2Committee ApprovedWould make the education funding formula more equitable.Duff
SB 8In CommiteeWould allow municipalities to adopt a 0.5% sales tax.Looney
SB 10In CommiteeWould strengthen hate crime laws.Winfield
SB 13/HB 6203/HB 6456Committee ApprovedWould increase the minimum wage.Looney
Winfield
et al.
Albis
Candelaria
D'Agostino
Elliott
Lemar
Paolillo
Porter
Walker
SB 137In CommiteeWould expand birth-to-three and provide universal pre-school, among other things.Gerratana
SJ 5Committee ApprovedWould amend the state constitution to create a "lock-box" for transportation funding.Duff
HB 5588In CommiteeWould limit certain bond allocations.Dillon
Lemar
Albis
Walker
Elliott
et al.
HB 5912HB 6127In CommiteeWould establish a 1-cent/ounce tax on sugared beverages.Lemar
Elliott
et al.
HB 6554In CommiteeWould tax carried interest as ordinary income.Porter
Albis
Lemar
Elliott
Winfield
Candelaria
Dillon
D'Agostino
et al.
HB 5831In CommiteeWould provide bonding for transitional housing for NH female ex- offenders.Porter
Candelaria
Lemar
Winfield
Looney
Paolillo
SB 631In CommiteeWould provide bonding to make structural improvements to the Shubert Theatre.Winfield
Looney
Walker
Porter
Lemar
Candelaria
Paolillo
HB 6863In CommiteeWould authorize bonds for renovating the Barbell Club as a youth/ community center.Canelaria
Porter
Paolillo
Lemar
Winfield
SB 649Committee ApprovedWould allow local building officials to impose fines for building w/o a permit.Looney
Winfield
Walker
Candelaria
Lemar
Porter
Paolillo
Et al.
590/591In CommiteeWould limit police ccoperation w/Immigration and Customs Enforcement (590); establish an immigrant's bill of rightsWinfield
SB 20In CommiteeWould require affordability to be considered in reviewing proposed health insurance rate hikes.Looney
HB 6352Committee ApprovedWould establish a deposit system for car tires.Ritter
Gresko
McCrory
HB 6901In CommiteeWould impose a surtax on large employers that pay an average wage less than $15/hour.Elliott
HB 7278Committee ApprovedWould convey Union Station to New Haven, among other things.Gov't Administration and Elections

Tags: ,

Post a Comment

Commenting has closed for this entry

Comment

posted by: Elmster on March 18, 2017  4:50am

This should be a huge concern to anyone who uses the iconic New Haven Train Station.  In the past few years, Park New Haven has operated Union Station and the parking garage there as the most user-friendly customer-service focused quasi-governmental operation in the city, if not the state.  The union employees are local folks who work hard under dedicated leadership to maintain a facility that is clean, well-run and responsive.  While holding parking rates down, PNH has introduced a number of initiatives to make parking and commuting through the Station worry-free.  As a customer, I appreciate the Pre-payment option to speed exiting, the clean, well-lit facility with its obvious security presence, and innovations like the valet parking option have saved my day when I’ve been late for a train.  PNH uses social media to keep me informed and responds to my questions.  Show me a state-run facility that operates like that—anywhere!  If the city loses this control to the state DOT you will watch our Station deteriorate before our eyes.  TO THE GOVERNOR AND DOT:  Fight another battle and leave Union Station to city operation.  I’ll take Doug Hausladen’s leadership any day!