Orange first selectman appeals train decision
"This is not a formal appeal but more of a factual presentation I plan on continuing my case to the Department of Transportation and the state legislation."
Orange First Selectman Mitchell Goldblatt is continuing his campaign to build a regional train station in Orange instead of neighboring West Haven, the site that the South Central Regional Council of Governments last week approved as the location to build the station.
Following COG's 9-6 vote recommending West Haven as the preferred site for a regional train station along the Metro-North line, Goldblatt said he is informally appealing the recommendation because he still feels Orange has the best site for the station.
"This is not a formal appeal but more of a factual presentation," Goldblatt said. "I plan on continuing my case to the Department of Transportation and the state legislation."
And despite COG's recommendation, Goldblatt said there are other bodies to make his plea to.
"The COG vote is just a recommendation. It was a strong recommendation but only part of the process. There are still other bodies to make the decision and they need to hear the other side of the issue. I don't feel this is a done deal."
West Haven Mayor H. Richard Borer Jr. was very pleased with COG's favorable vote for West Haven and thinks the decision was the best one.
"The process was to convince the region that this was to benefit the region and the region has made a selection," Borer said. "Republicans and Democrats, urban and suburban supported West Haven.
Goldblatt criticized West Haven's reasons for wanting the station, saying city leaders want it to boost economic development and that the station should be built to benefit all the towns, not just one city's economic development efforts.
But Borer said the regional body made a decision that would help West Haven and the region and that helping out a neighbor is a good regional support plan.
"The region is only as strong as its weakest links," Borer said, "and West Haven is one of the weakest links in economic development."
Part of the reason West Haven has weak economic development is because there are many facilities that are tax exempt such as the University of New Haven and The Veteran's hospital, which serve and employ many regional residents.
"It's time for the region to take care of the towns that take care of their residents," Borer said.