HARTFORD, Conn. (CBSNewYork/AP) — State Transportation Commissioner James Redeker  cautioned legislators against replacing Metro-North Railroad as the operator of the New Haven line linking Connecticut to New York City.

Sen. Toni Boucher of Wilton and Sen. Tony Hwang of Fairfield, both Republicans, have introduced legislation that would force the state Department of Transportation to put the contract out for competitive bids. Boucher said Connecticut or Metro-North may seek changes this year.

“I think this is a good time to have this discussion, bring accountability, some transparency to this and let them make their case,” Boucher told WCBS 880’s Fran Schneidau.

Redeker told the General Assembly’s Transportation Committee Wednesday that replacing Metro-North isn’t practical, The Hartford Courant reported.

Metro-North employs conductors, engineers, track maintainers, electricians, supervisors and senior managers to oversee operations of the New Haven Line and the Danbury, New Canaan and Waterbury branches, he said.

There’s no company in the country with the staffing and technical skills to take over that operation, Redeker said.

Several legislators from southwestern Connecticut said their constituents are unhappy with slow, unreliable rail service and want a different contractor.

Redeker said Connecticut officials and Metro-North President Joseph Giulietti have a good relationship and that Metro-North is making progress toward reliable on-time performance.

Competitive bidding to operate the new Springfield-to-New Haven commuter service will give state transportation officials a better understanding for possibly renegotiating sections of the Metro-North contract in the future, he said.

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