December 15, 2017

High Speed Rail Plan to be Announced at 10am Today, Likely to Include Route Through Old Lyme; Stroud Explains 30-Day Timeline to Respond

SECoast.org sent out an e-blast  yesterday afternoon stating the following:

“Congressional and other sources confirm that the the Federal Railroad Administration will be announcing the final blueprint for NEC Future on Friday 12/16. The Congressional delegation will be briefed at 10:00 a.m. and we expected to be briefed at around 11:30 a.m.

The announcement will then start the formal 30-day clock ticking in an attempt to beat the end of the presidential term. We strongly believe that the Kenyon to Saybrook bypass through Old Lyme will be part of the final plan.”

We asked Greg Stroud, Executive Director of SECoast.org, to explain the significance of the 30-days for our readers and this was his response:

“The next 30 days are mandated to allow the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) to function without undue interference from the courts. If we intend to oppose this plan in the courts, the law requires that we first “exhaust all administrative remedies.” That means that in order to raise an issue in the courts, we must first raise the issue during this 30-day period, and give the FRA an opportunity to find a remedy without the intervention of the courts. If we fail to do that, the courts will basically reject any future court case, whatever the merits.

In fact during each bureaucratic step that follows, for the next however many years, the law requires that we exhaust the legal remedies for that step if we intend to oppose it in court. There are a lot of steps, but the next 30 days are by far the most important, because it is during these 30 days, that we point out the flaws in the entire Tier 1 process dating back to 2012.

Luckily, we have had access to excellent counsel over the last months.  We believe very strongly that NEC FUTURE is a flawed process, handled contrary to both the spirit and the letter of the law. Hopefully we can stay out of the courts. It’s hard to fight the endless resources of the federal government, but we believe there is an excellent case to be made, and we believe that the FRA knows it.

What more obvious sign of failure is there, than the fact that the federal government will be releasing its once-in-a-generation plan, by surprise, without fanfare, just nine days before the Christmas holidays?”

We’ll publish the news of the proposed route(s) as soon as it breaks today and then, dear readers, if suspicions are confirmed, be ready for 30 days of intense work — and fundraising — to fight this plan.

And let’s take a few minutes to thank Greg Stroud and his team for all their extraordinary efforts on this topic. We are very fortunate to have them in our corner now … and through the impending months.

Editor’s Note: SECoast.org is a locally-directed special project of the Connecticut Trust for Historic Preservation. Since publicly breaking news of the proposed bypass in January of this year, SECoast.org has been working tirelessly as an effective advocate for Old Lyme and the local area by catalyzing growing regional opposition to the bypass.

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