HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Connecticut's economy apparently suffered during the recent 12-day disruption of commuter rail service along Metro-North's busy New Haven Line, according to a new analysis by the Department of Economic and Community Development.
The analysis, obtained Wednesday by The Associated Press, determined Connecticut's gross state product — a measurement of the state's economic output — declined $62 million. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis estimated Connecticut's gross state product in 2012 at nearly $230 billion.
"It reconfirms the point that we're making of the absolute critical nature of the rail system," said Joseph McGee, vice president of public policy for the Business Council of Fairfield County, which supports spending at least $2 billion on upgrades to the line and enhancing the ability of trains to travel at higher speeds between New Haven and Manhattan.
"These numbers illustrate why. This is extraordinary," he said of the estimate.
The report also determined the service disruption on Metro-North led to a net loss of $2.5 million in state revenue, while lost productivity was the equivalent to 260 jobs, including 200 private-sector jobs lost and 25 construction-sector jobs lost.
Among the assumptions used in the calculation were an estimated loss of rail ticket sales of $5.3 million and an estimated $3 million for expenses associated with running diesel-powered trains once per hour on a limited basis and buses for alternative transportation.
On Sept. 25, a failed electrical circuit cut power to part of the New Haven Line, forcing Metro-North Railroad to reduce rail service by half. Tens of thousands of commuters had to make other arrangements as the railroad tried to get by with a handful of diesel-powered trains, and then limited electric train service.
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