PATRICK-MURRAY ADMINISTRATION ISSUES SOUTH COAST RAIL EXECUTIVE ORDER AND AWARDS TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE TO COMMUNITIES
Executive Order and Awards Show Progress One Year after South Coast Rail Corridor Plan Release
Over the past two years, $300,000 in annual technical assistance grants have helped communities plan for development around stations, create housing plans and draft zoning changes to maximize the smart growth potential of commuter rail service. This year, fifteen communities are receiving awards worth a total of $320,000. The fifteen communities include: Acushnet, Berkley, Easton, Fall River, Freetown, New Bedford, North Attleboro, Norton, Rehoboth, Rochester, Sharon, Somerset, Stoughton, Taunton and Lakeville.
The Corridor Plan estimates the South Coast Rail project will stimulate nearly $500 million in new economic activity each year, while creating thousands of new jobs.
Recognizing that this potential can best be reached through smart growth, the Governor signed a new Executive Order directing his agencies to invest in the priority areas identified in the Corridor Plan. These investments will support the clustering of jobs and homes around stations and in downtowns and the permanent protection of the South Coast's forests, farms and habitat areas.
"We are committed to delivering on the economic and quality of life benefits the South Coast Rail promises to provide, and today's announcement reflects our determination to make this project a reality," said Governor Deval Patrick. "The Executive Order furthers our commitment by aligning funds to support smart growth and the technical assistance awards will ensure communities reach their goals for economic development, housing, and land protection. I appreciate the strong state and local partnerships that are on full display here and know they will help get this critical project over the goal line."
The Executive Order calls for the state to align its investments in infrastructure and land preservation with the Corridor Map, which was developed through an extensive civic engagement process involving over 100 community meetings. The map identifies 33 places that are priorities for new job and housing growth and 72 places that are priorities for the protection of natural lands. State investments affected by the Executive Order include water, wastewater, transportation, housing and economic development and land preservation, as well as the construction and leasing of state facilities.
"Governor Patrick and I understand the importance of expanding commuter rail for the residents of the South Coast region as well as the economic benefits of maximizing a smart growth plan in each city and town in the region," said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray. "We thank Senator Kerry and Congressmen Frank and McGovern as well as all participating communities for their continued support and partnership for the South Coast Rail Corridor Plan. Today's announced technical assistance awards and Executive Order are further examples of our continued commitment to restore commuter rail service to the South Coast."
"The Governor and Lieutenant Governor have demonstrated a remarkable statewide vision for expanding commuter and freight rail service, and MassDOT is working closely with communities to ensure this rail investment will create jobs, revitalize downtowns and village centers, and protect the farms, water and forests of the South Coast," said Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary Jeffrey Mullan.
In August 2009 Governor Patrick joined Congressman Barney Frank and Congressman James McGovern, as well as state and local officials to release the South Coast Rail Economic Development and Land Use Corridor Plan, a blueprint for maximizing economic development in the region while preserving natural resources. The Commonwealth has committed to aligning its investments and policy decisions to support the Corridor Plan.
According to the Plan, commuter rail service to the South Coast would create at least 3,500 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.
The South Coast Rail Corridor Plan was the result of collaboration between the Commonwealth, 31 corridor communities and three regional planning agencies, including more than 100 public meetings and events tapping the knowledge of regional residents, businesses, planners and other organizations.
View the South Coast Rail Economic Development and Land Use Corridor Plan and project background information here.