Continuing its commitment to providing greater access to the Commonwealth\u2019s natural resources, the Baker-Polito Administration today announced a partnership with Eversource Energy for an upcoming project to construct a new four-mile section of trails as part of the Mass Central Rail Trail (MCRT) within the Towns of Weston and Wayland. Through the unique public-private partnership between the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA), Eversource Energy, and the two communities, the four mile stretch will strengthen multi-modal connections within the area along the former Central Massachusetts rail corridor. \n\n\u201cThe Commonwealth is home to a vast network of trails that provide opportunities for transportation across many communities and outdoor recreation,\u201d said Governor Charlie Baker. \u201cThis four-mile section of the Mass Central Rail Trail serves as an excellent example of the benefits a public-private partnership can deliver to preserve natural resources and connect our communities and families.\u201d\n\n\u201cWeston, Wayland and their surrounding communities will be well-served by this partnership and important addition to the Commonwealth\u2019s network of multi-use trails, ensuring this property is open and accessible for years to come,\u201d said Lieutenant Governor Karyn Polito. \u201cOur administration is committed to providing families with opportunities to live safe and healthy lives, have fun and enjoy the outdoors.\u201d\n\n\u201cPathways like the Mass Central Rail Trail create the networks that strengthen connections between communities and allow for joggers, cyclists, commuters and all residents to enjoy the benefits of outdoor recreation,\u201d said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton. \u201cIn partnership with Eversource, the Baker-Polito Administration is proud to make this important investment in this rail trail that we hope will one day span the length of the Commonwealth.\u201d\n\nThe MCRT is an envisioned 104-mile multi-use rail trail designed to connect Boston to Northampton along the former Central Massachusetts rail corridor. Twenty-three (23) miles of the route between Waltham and Berlin are currently owned by the MBTA. In 2011, the DCR and MBTA entered into a 99-year agreement allowing the DCR to build the trail through these communities. With its partnership with Eversource, the DCR will begin trail construction this fall.\n\n\u201cThe Baker-Polito Administration has made it a priority to work with communities to create corridors which are more pedestrian and cyclist friendly,\u201d said Transportation Secretary and MassDOT CEO Stephanie Pollack. \u201cSafe passage improvements have been made with infrastructure improvements on roadways through funding programs such as Complete Streets, but just as important has been the creation of miles of off road trails. Data is more and more reminding us that if you give members of the public options for safe travel on foot and on bike, people will leave their vehicles home more often and choose active forms of transportation. \u201c\n\n\u201cIn all its work, the Department of Conservation and Recreation aims to protect, promote and enhance our natural, cultural and recreational resources for the benefit of all, and meeting that goal today would not be possible without the support from Eversource, the MBTA, and our partnering communities who helped guide us in the preservation of this local parkland,\u201d said DCR Commissioner Leo Roy. \u201cBy expanding the Massachusetts Central Rail Trail, I hope residents and visitors alike take advantage of the wealth of healthy, outdoor recreation and transportation options now available to them.\u201d\n\n\u201cA project like this only gain momentum because of the leadership of Governor Baker and Lieutenant Governor Polito, and because of the Administration\u2019s emphasis on forming the kinds of partnerships that bring new thinking to the process and focus a shared goal,\u201d said MBTA General Manager Luis Manuel Ram\u00edrez. \u201cThe MBTA is pleased to be a partner in the new four-mile segment of the rail trail, which will create new opportunities for recreation and mobility.\u201d\n\n\u201cIt\u2019s very gratifying to know the work we\u2019re doing as part of our commitment to providing safe, reliable electric service is also helping advance one of the Baker-Polito Administration\u2019s commitments to the citizens of Massachusetts,\u201d said Eversource Chairman, President and CEO Jim Judge. \u201cWe look forward to the day when our new right-of-way access roads are available for use by families across MetroWest and beyond as part of this scenic, multi-use trail.\u201d\n\nTo complete this section of the MCRT, the Commonwealth invested approximately $1.7 million, representing a significant contribution by the Baker-Polito Administration in the expansion and maintenance of Massachusetts\u2019 hundreds of miles of trails on state property. In June, Governor Charlie Baker announced a 60 percent increase in the budget of the Recreation Trails Program (RTP), allowing the DCR to expand its pool of grant winners who construct or maintain trails across the Commonwealth. Since 2015, under the Baker-Polito Administration, approximately 150 miles of new trail have been designed, planned, funded, and/or completed with trail rehabilitation and repair also becoming a major priority.\n\n\u201cThe trail network around Wayland and the surrounding areas is a beautiful asset utilized by many,\u201d said State Senator Richard Ross (R-Wrentham). \u201cExtending the Mass Central Rail Trail will provide cyclists and others, the opportunity to enjoy all that Massachusetts has to offer while being safe.\u201d \n\n\u201cI am glad to hear that construction will soon be beginning on the Weston and Wayland portion of the Mass Central Rail Trail,\u201d said State Representative Alice Peisch (D-Wellesley). \u201cThe Rail Trail is a wonderful way to bring communities together while fostering the preservation of our natural resources for years to come.\u201d\n\n\u201cOne day soon, I hope, the MA Central Rail Trail will make its way from Weston and Wayland east to Waltham and west to Hudson and beyond, supporting recreational bicyclists and connecting commuters to workplaces,\u201d said State Senator Mike Barrett (D-Lexington). \u201cWe need alternatives to our busy roads. This is exciting stuff.\u201d\n\n\u201cI am certain that the expansion of the Massachusetts Central Rail Trail will be a great benefit to the Town of Wayland and the region as a whole. This project and others like it promote healthy, fun, and environmentally friendly transit options while providing a unique opportunity to view the often otherwise hidden beauty of our forests, wetlands, farms, and meadows,\u201d said State Representative Carmine L. Gentile (D-Wayland). \u201cI look forward to the day such pathways will connect the entire Commonwealth.\u201d\n\n\u201cWayland bicyclists, joggers, and walkers will be delighted to hear that the long-anticipated construction on the Mass Central Rail Trail connecting Wayland and Weston will begin soon,\u201d said Lea Anderson, Chair of the Wayland Board of Selectmen. \u201cThis is a project that enhances life in our communities by providing a safe place to enjoy nature, exercise, and eventually commute to other towns. We are grateful for the collaboration that has led to this exciting project.\u201d\n\n\u201cThe Rail Trail will be a wonderful asset in Weston, offering great recreational opportunities, while also preserving important open space and historical features,\u201d said Chris Houston, Weston Board of Selectmen. \u201cThe town looks forward to its completion and appreciates the cooperation we have seen among the DCR, Eversource, and various town boards and committees.\u201d\n\nThe announcement follows several notable trail expansions which have occurred this year. In June, Governor Baker announced a new 3.7-mile extension of the Cape Cod Rail Trail, and in September Lt. Governor Karyn Polito presided over the completion of Segment 1 of the Blackstone River Greenway. Since 2015, the Baker-Polito Administration has constructed more than 20 major trail sections throughout the Commonwealth, including the Ashuwillticook Rail Trail in Lanesborough, the Charles River Greenway\u2019s Braille Trail in Watertown, and the Norwottuck Rail Trail in Northampton.