PATRICK-MURRAY ADMINSTRATION RELEASES SOUTH COAST RAIL CORRIDOR PLAN
Project Will Spark Millions in Economic Development and Provide Blueprint for New Growth and Natural Resource Preservation
The plan estimates the South Coast Rail project will stimulate nearly $500 million in new economic activity and raise household income by more than $150 million, while creating thousands of new jobs. The plan makes a direct connection between maintaining the region's natural assets and economic development.
"By thoughtfully planning for rail as part of a larger economic development plan, we can create great places for people to live and work near the stations, curb sprawl development, and preserve the farms, fields and forests that make the South Coast so special," said Governor Patrick. "These investments will continue our efforts to revitalize the SouthCoast economy and spur growth throughout Massachusetts."
"This report confirms that South Coast Rail will be a catalyst for economic and community development in the region," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "It will give thousands of people access to new job opportunities and a better connection to a growing area with more affordable housing prices."
Under the plan, commuter rail service to the South Coast would create between 3,500 and 3,800 net new jobs by 2030, with two-thirds of those jobs in the region. Construction of the rail project would generate 7,000 to 8,000 new jobs, more than $1 billion in spending, and roughly $315 million in household income.
The plan includes concept plans for 11 stations, the state Corridor Map showing priority areas for development of and preservation for 31 corridor communities, and a description of new policy commitments from the Commonwealth.
The plan is the result of a collaborative working process between the Commonwealth, 31 corridor communities and three regional planning agencies - the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), Old Colony Planning Council (OCPC) and Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District (SRPEDDD) - working in conjunction with the Southeastern Massachusetts Commuter Rail Task Force. The process included more than 100 public meetings and events tapping the knowledge and insights of regional residents, businesses, planners and other organizations.
Transportation Secretary James A. Aloisi, Jr, Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki, New Bedford Mayor Scott W. Lang, and Fall River Mayor Robert Correia attended the event, joined by local officials, residents and business leaders who were involved in meetings and planning at local and regional levels.
The release of the plan comes as Governor Patrick and his fellow New England Governors recently released a vision for high speed rail in the region, including the South Coast Rail project. The Executive Office of Transportation also recently submitted a pre-application for competitive high speed rail stimulus grants to support the South Coast Rail Project.
"This is major progress for one of the most important economic development and environmental priorities in our Commonwealth, and I commend Governor Patrick and all the others who've worked so hard to make it happen. Connecting the SouthCoast to the metropolitan Boston area with quality, dependable, efficient rail service will expand the economic potential of the entire region, reduce the congestion plaguing our overburdened highways, and encourage critically needed private investment in each of these communities," Senator Edward Kennedy said.
"Expanding commuter rail to the SouthCoast is a smart investment that will create jobs, jobs, and more jobs throughout Massachusetts. It's positive impact doesn't stop there. It'll also ease congestion, reduce our dependence on foreign oil, and improve the daily commute for hundreds of thousands of riders. I've pushed and pushed for this funding because we know it will have an enormous payoff. I'm glad that Governor Patrick and his team have recognized the importance of making this vital project a priority," said Senator John Kerry.
"South Coast Rail has been a priority of mine for a long time," said Congressman Jim McGovern. "High quality rail service will be good for our economy and good for our environment. I want to thank Governor Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Murray for all of their thoughtful work on this issue, and I look forward to working with them to make this plan a reality."
"Commuter rail linking Fall River and New Bedford to Boston is a high priority from every relevant standpoint: economic development, improving the environment, and fairness for the people of southeastern Massachusetts," said Congressman Barney Frank. "Governor Patrick deserves our gratitude for taking this major step towards making it a reality."
"The Corridor Plan creates a blueprint for how we can all work together to maximize the economic and community benefits of this rail project," said Secretary Aloisi. "We intend the Corridor Plan to guide state investments and make the region more competitive, equitable and sustainable."
"This plan allows the Commonwealth to create connectivity between where people live and where the job opportunities are," said Secretary Bialecki. "Through the realization of the South Coast Rail Corridor Plan, the region will experience long term job growth and economic prosperity well into the future."
Offering a regional perspective, Steve Smith, Executive Director of SRPEDD, said "The Corridor Plan will help insure that the South Coast region maximizes the state's investment by guiding development in a coordinated fashion with the rail project. The plan will help cities and towns partner with the Commonwealth to derive the greatest benefit from South Coast Rail."
New Bedford Mayor Scott Lang said, "This Plan is a major step forward in the South Coast Rail project. With sound economic planning, cities like New Bedford, which have been hit hard by the current recession, and will host new stations, which will be centers of activity, and gain a critical connection to the economic hub that is Boston."
"The train will provide a critical boost to the people of Fall River, with a new station that will connect neighborhoods to a developing waterfront. Commuter rail service to Fall River will help promote job growth and sustainable development. We're excited to work with the state to make these plans become a reality," said Fall River Mayor Robert Correia.
The South Coast Rail Economic Development and Land Use Corridor Plan, project background information, fact sheets and maps are available at www.mass.gov/southcoastrail. To request a hard copy, contact Kristina Egan at Kristina.Egan@eot.state.ma.us.
To read about New England's High Speed Rail Vision visit: http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/portals/20/docs/NewEngland_HSR_Vision.pdf
For transportation news and updates: http://transportation.blog.state.ma.us.