Good news from Hartford. Shore Line East and the Waterbury and Danbury branches were included in the budget which the Appropriations Committee recommended the week before Easter. The next step is for the Legislature to pass a budget which the governor will sign. Hopefully, this should occur by the first of June. We are optimistic that SLE will be funded, since there is widespread bipartisan support in the Legislature for all three rail lines. At this point we have no planned events, however we will let everyone know if something arises.
OVER 240 PEOPLE SIGN UP FOR MAY
We have had an outstanding response to our mailing to employees at Yale University and SNET. As of Thursday April 17, we have had 240 people respond to our offer of a free monthly pass for the month of May. Current riders from the Knights of Columbus and Corporate Health Strategies have also encouraged fellow employees to take advantage of this offer. When these riders join us in May, please make them as comfortable as possible. If they look lost or have questions please try to help. During the first week, we will make announcements welcoming these new riders, and have SLERA representatives walk the train in order to answer any questions. It is important to make sure that these new riders continue with us in June as paying riders. This offer will be good until the end of this week, so contact us if you know someone who is interested. During the first week of May we plan to issue a press release to local media, legislators and the governor describing our success.
We had an amazing response to the survey we distributed in March. Over 500 people completed the survey, of which 330 provided us with written comments. Among the highlights, over 75% of the responses cited commuting by automobile, including traffic, the Q Bridge and stress as reasons why they take SLE. Over 75% of the respondents would drive to work if SLE was eliminated. The remainder would use the buses, change jobs or residence. 25% of the respondents connect in New Haven with Metro-North trains. Of these, 44% would drive to Union Station in New Haven, 31% would drive directly to their destination and the remainder would either change jobs or residence. Thanks to all who responded to the surveys. We plan to distribute a press release describing the results to the local media, members of the legislature and the governor.
TAG SALE AND FINANCES
Thanks to all who helped with the tag sale. It was an amazing success, we raised over $500. Between the tag sale and contributions from the ridership we were able to pay for all our expenses.. At this point we have a surplas and do not anticipate any major expenses.
MEETINGS AND MORE MEETINGS
During the past month the officers of SLERA have attended several meetings relating to SLE and the budget battle. In April, E.C. Schroeder atteneded the Connecticut Public Transit Commission monthly meeting in New Haven. At this meeting the Commission passed a resolution supporting the continuation of the three rail lines, including SLE. On April 17, Lee Carlson and E.C. Schroeder attended the regular monthly meeting of the Metro-North Commuter Council in order to coordinate strategy abou tthe budget. The Council was amazed by everything the riders of SLE had accomplished during the past two months. Also in April, Wil Aloe, our VP, was elected to the Board of Rideworks.