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State Sen. Needleman Working to Create the Central CT Loop Trail

State Sen. Norm Needleman.

(Feb. 15, 2019) — At a public hearing this week, the General Assembly’s Transportation Committee held a public hearing where constituents and senators supported legislation that would not only create a new trail snaking from East Hampton through to Portland, Middletown, Meriden and Cheshire, but would create a connection between two additional trails as well, giving our region access to more than 100 total miles of interconnected paths.

Senate Bill No. 775, “An Act Concerning the Creation of the Central Connecticut Loop Trail,” introduced by State Sen. Norm Needleman, State Sen. Matt Lesser (D-Middletown) and State Sen. Mary Abrams (D-Meriden), would start work on creating this new connection if approved.

The bill would require the commissioners of the Department of Transportation and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to fund and coordinate the planning, design and construction of a trail starting in East Hampton, the western-most point of the Air Line Trail, and moving west through Portland, Middletown, Meriden and Cheshire. Eventually, this trail would connect to the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail in Cheshire. That trail runs north-south from Suffield to New Haven.

This represents a fantastic opportunity for our district, as it wouldn’t just create a new trail for recreational use but create a link between two of the state’s largest trails in the process, creating a loop between them that would stand at more than 100 total interconnected miles. In effect, the loop would connect a good portion of our state, expanding trail access for many.

My constituents would be able to run, walk and bike along the trail, whether they simply want to go for a mile or two or try to ride as far as they can across the state. It would represent opportunities for exercise and provide options to walk or bike to work or school instead of driving, providing increased freedom of choice while increasing time in nature and reducing pollution. It could even expand economic development, and not just from the shops that could fix riders’ bikes and serve hungry walkers. Having a trail like this would undoubtedly also increase regional tourism. When folks from around the state and beyond come to visit, they’ll be minutes away from our Main Streets and our town centers, where they can enjoy shopping and dining. I’m happy to support this worthwhile endeavor.

Do you support this legislation? Do you want to talk about other proposed legislation, or inform me of issues in your community? Please contact my office at 1-800-842-1420 or http://www.senatedems.ct.gov/needleman.

State Senator Needleman represents Chester, Clinton, Colchester, Deep River, East Haddam, East Hampton, Essex, Haddam, Lyme, Old Saybrook, Portland, and Westbrook. 

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