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Blumenthal Hopeful For Better Safety, Reliability Under New Metro-North President

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (credit: blumenthal.senate.gov)

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (credit: blumenthal.senate.gov)

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NEW HAVEN, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) – U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal is the latest Connecticut politician to meet with the new president of Metro-North Railroad.

The Democrat sat down Thursday afternoon in New Haven with Metro-North chief Joseph Giulietti and Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Tom Prendergast.

Blumenthal said he’s hopeful that new leadership at the commuter railroad will mean “a more effective, sustained commitment to safety and reliability.”

“What’s necessary now is new leadership and new accountability with a change in culture to put safety and reliability first,” Blumenthal told WCBS 880 following his meeting. “Hopefully, this new leadership will replace some of the folks who have been making bad decisions that have resulted in late and unreliable service and dangers to safety.”

As WCBS 880 Connecticut Bureau Chief Fran Schneidau reported, Blumenthal characterized Giulietti as skilled and experienced, but said he’ll be judged on his plan of action.

“I’m going to be asking for a progress report as soon as next week on some of the very specific measures that should be taken, like alerters,” the senator said.

Giulietti took over at Metro-North last week. He previously ran the South Florida Regional Transportation Authority where he streamlined the Tri-Rail commuter system and doubled its ridership.

“My hope is that he will impose that accountability on the managers under him. What needs to be put first is the safety and security of riders, not the job security of managers,” said Blumenthal. “These management decisions are going to be painful, in some instances tough, but he has to hold accountable the managers who failed at their jobs.”

Giulietti and Prendergast recently met with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy to discuss his concerns about the railroad, which has been criticized for a series of recent problems, including derailments and a power outage.

State lawmakers also are expected to meet soon with both officials.

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