I know of the Nicastros Bros. well, growing up in Bristol when Frank was mayor. They're abrasive pests, but there's method to the madness. The issue is being ignored by Malloy's camp in hopes that it'll go away quietly in the aura of inevitability being projected about the busway. Mike is determined to outlast the shunning and force that throwaway rail study to count (i.e. weaponize himself with it). He knows damn well the busway's not shovel-ready, that the engineers are barely two-thirds done with design from all the unsolveable problems, and that supporting lawmakers know this and are brushing it aside with "Well, we gotta build something now and this is the only thing in front of us." That screws Mike's Chamber district and Frank's House district forever, but every other supporting pol right up to Malloy can get off scot free in the aftermath by saying "Why we had no idea it would ever get complicated, but oh well." He's going to extract his pound of flesh by making them justify blind busway support vs. an empirical study on the public record refuting every last bit of BS they've been messaging as gospel. And give the risk-averse pause by making them swallow a poison pill in defending their busway vote. They are scared to death of this prospect.
These are the sorts of battles the Nicastros win. Not reel-in-bacon trophies, but preventing windows of opportunity from getting slammed shut on easily-ignored Bristol and tactically winning attention span to continue conversations. Survival move, and it's the only move Bristol has on a lot of issues because it's so effortless to ignore vs. politically more advantageous towns. Previous City Hall and Chamber regimes just sat in a room and stared at the floor because nobody would ever come to talk to them. Stuff definitely started moving or kept fighting chance of moving in the 20 years the Bros. have been in and around the top seats of power. They do it with maniacal energy, charisma, and will to simply outlast the opposition into saying "Alright! Alright! Jeez, if I give you this will you get off my @#$% back?!?!" And then they're driving the conversation. I don't want to overstate...expectations are so low in Bristol for a reason, and a lot of activity that have been pushed to happen (like redeveloping the demolished downtown mall) still hasn't after decades because the city's means are so meager. But hope is a good thing when it comes to windows of opportunity not getting shut and taken elsewhere like they automatically used to. This is one of those situations where they're trying to play good defense for Bristol by having a good offense.
I think this increases the chances of a good, solid study coming out of this. He'll sick his cavalry on it, whip the supporters into a frenzy for the polling, and try to seize control of it by overpowering the state's passive-aggressiveness with unyielding aggressive-aggressiveness. He's already worked over enough PAR officials to get them sprouting off-the-reservation in his and not the state's favor. And the local pep squad will be out in force...there's not a NIMBY to be found here, Plymouth, Plainville and adjoining areas because lack of highway access is shared suffering for everyone. If the state wants to sink the study, they'll have to blow their cover with aggressive-aggressiveness against his aggressive-aggressiveness. And then the poison pill takes effect on owning up to the busway votes. Probably with West Hartford timed to launch the project-halting lawsuit everyone thinks they're keeping in wait.
I don't like all the Nicastros' fixations because some of them truly are OCD running amok. Frank as mayor would fight to the death on causes as asinine as students wearing baseball caps to school (he also kept his pre-Mayor job as town truancy officer because he liked it just that intensely much; play hooky and the Mayor was personally showing up at your house to haul your ass to school). And Mike can definitely turn people off with his overzealousness at pounding this issue into the floor. They can be easy to roll eyes at and write off when in total cause warfare mode. But when they are on-point with a big idea they can be deftly effective at seizing mindshare and exploiting loopholes. 98 lb. weaklings who always have a puncher's chance: very dangerous opponent. I think this game will be an interesting follow. Not necessarily for any result involving trains running (that's very remote until proven otherwise), but for laying bare the busway scam.
MNRR to Plainville Yard is a nonstarter, and they know that. Just remember that 1) Frank's House district ends 1 mile west of the yard, 2) Plainville is in vocal busway opponent and Nicastro ally Betty Boukus' district, 3) Boukus carries a 4-block wide sliver of New Britain running along I-84 and served by the only 2 New Britain CTTransit buses oriented west to Plainville/Bristol away from the busway, and 4) the busway's biggest legislative backer Tim O'Brien has a heavily gerrymandered district anchored in downtown but with a northwest sliver abutting Boukus' that's even narrower than hers on those same westward bus lines. Galvanize points west of New Britain, divide and conquer northwest NB and Operation Chaos the fringes of O'Brien's district, force a punt that focuses outrage on the busway waste, and buy time for a rematch with more favorable momentum. That's the playbook here. I won't wager favorable odds, but it's the best play they could run in this situation and they're not up against high-wattage brainpower in that Capitol building.