The Federal Railroad Administration, which is part of the Department of Transportation, is conducting Operation Deep Dive, a 60-day safety review of Metro-North's protocols and procedures, including track, signal and rolling stock maintenance, inspection and repair, communication, and oversight of engineers.
Boucher said while Operation Deep Dive might produce recommendations to improve equipment, tracks and procedures, this would address only part of the problem.
"The real concern is not enough real ability to effect change other than having oversight through the state," Boucher said. "Operation Deep Dive is not going to produce a change in management."
On Monday, Metro-North spokeswoman Marjorie Anders said the railroad is working closely with the federal government and the Department of Transportation to make improvements, and the Federal Railroad Administration is expected to issue a report on the findings of Operation Deep Dive by the end of the month.
Since December, responding in part to Federal Railroad Administration requirements, the railroad has installed "alerter" equipment on diesel locomotives and cab cars, begun installing signal systems on five "critical" curves to slow trains and established more than 20 transitional speed zones to eliminate speed-limit changes of greater than 20 mph.
The railroad is considering revamping its schedule based on current conditions, including widespread improvement work, she said.
Redeker said after the Federal Railroad Administration's recommendations are made, Metro-North will make recommendations about how much service they can provide reliably and on time, given constraints such as slow-speed orders and capital projects.
"No, I can't say when they'll restore service to the previous standard," Redeker said Monday.
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal-D-Conn., said he had read the letter and was pleased the legislators had spoken out to encourage a more proactive approach to speeding up railroad improvements.
"We need a partnership between the state and local public officials to demand more from Metro-North and I've spoken to members of the Legislature about them increasing their role in assuring accountability," Blumenthal said. "I think this is a step forward by the leaders in transportation and a very serious step in the right direction."
Contacted for comment on the lawmakers' letter, the Department of Transportation released a statement saying the same safety concerns the lawmakers have are the reason for the Operation Deep Dive study of Metro-North, and the agency would respond to the letter once it was received.
"The Department of Transportation has also long called for and strongly supports greater investment in our nation's aging and deteriorating infrastructure," the statement said.
The dual news conferences by Transportation Committee members and Fairfield County legislators came a day after Malloy announced a $10 million power upgrade for the New Haven Line scheduled to begin Monday, and involves replacing old transformers in the Cos Cob section of Greenwich.
Asked whether these were done for political show, given that it's an election year, and that many months and serious Metro-North failures had already passed, the legislators said no.
"This is not grandstanding," Guerrera said. "I'm in the middle of the state and I don't use trains much. I can't tell you the number of emails I've received. People don't want to work in our state if they can't use Metro-North. We are trying to do what we can to get Metro-North help," Guerrera said.
Boucher, a potential gubernatorial candidate, bristled at the suggestion. "Commuters are asking what we are going to do. They want us to read Metro-North the riot act. We have today spoken with one voice," she said.