Photo by Wikimedia user Jehochman / CC BY-SA 4.0

Gov. Ned Lamont took a well-publicized trip on the Hartford Line commuter rail service Thursday to urge towns and cities along transit routes to tout the transit-oriented developments the Hartford Line and others have spurred.

However, despite efforts from advocates and some state legislators to force municipalities to zone for more multifamily development near transit stops, Lamont stopped short of endorsing their efforts, the Connecticut Mirror reported.

Speaking at the Meriden train station, Lamont instead told reporters about his plans to fund a four-year-old, but never funded, Municipal Redevelopment Authority (MRDA) that would help fund multifamily development in towns that establish “housing growth zones” in downtown, transit-oriented areas, the Hartford Business Journal reported, and urged other communities to follow Meriden’s example.

Lawmakers gave the OK last year to $600 million in future bonding to fund affordable housing projects, the Hartford Courant reported, adding that Lamont said he doesn’t plan any more major housing initiatives for the upcoming legislative session outside of working to set up the MRDA, which was modeled on the successful Capitol Region Redevelopment Authority.

The administration recently inked a contract to buy a brand-new fleet of passenger cars for the popular Hartford Line and other train services in the state, and last year completed a plan to replace diesel trains with faster and more reliable electric trains on the Shoreline East commuter service between New Haven and New London. In addition, the federal government is poised to spend $2 billion to upgrade passenger rail infrastructure in the state.

The Hartford Line, in particular, has drawn a number of housing developers to build near its stations, resulting in permits for around 1,400 apartments in its first year of operations, alone.