Gov. Ned Lamont has proposed a big investment in high-speed rail to shrink travel times between the state’s biggest business centers down to 30 minutes. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia user Jehochman / CC BY-SA 4.0

During its first 12 months of service, CTRail’s Hartford Line drew an estimated 634,000 passengers, 51,000 more than originally projected, according to a report released Monday by CTDOT, and attracted significant development efforts.

The passenger rail service that has multiple stations in Central Connecticut along the Interstate 91 corridor connecting New Haven, Hartford and Springfield. When it launched last year, the Hartford Line was the first rail line to open for service in Connecticut since 1990.

Gov. Ned Lamont joined Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz, CTDOT Commissioner Joe Giulietti and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the launch of the Hartford Line at New Haven’s Union Station Monday.

“We need to dramatically improve our transportation system to compete in a 21st century economy that attracts businesses and provides the critical infrastructure needed to move goods, services, and people,” Lamont said in a statement. “The Hartford Line is one component of creating a fast, efficient transportation system that works. It’s only been one year and ridership has been higher than expected but we cannot stop here – we must build the infrastructure that businesses and commuters need for today’s economy.”

Lamont also highlighted development activity around many of the line’s stations, saying an estimated $430 million has been invested in new development in the corridor in recent years, much of it while the rail line was still in development. Approximately 1,400 residential units and 242,000 square feet of commercial and office space have been constructed or are being designed, his office said.