FAIRFIELD - State and local officials have developed a plan to boost safety and reliability on Metro-North's New Haven branch.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, along with Sen. Chris Murphy and Rep. Jim Himes, outlined plans to pitch a railroad trust fund to Congress. They say the fund would be structured like the one in place for the interstate highway system. Money would be raised to upgrade tracks and infrastructure at a price tag well into the billions. They say most of the money would come from borrowing, primarily with help from treasury bonds.

Blumenthal says a variety of other plans are on the table and that he will chair a series of hearings to see which plan would be best to get federal dollars in place for necessary repairs.

Lawmakers say outlining plans for track improvements can't start until they know what caused this month's accident-a process that could take as long as one year. The senator is calling on the National Transportation Safety Board to speed up the investigation process before another accident takes place.