Governor Deval Patrick today joined state and local leaders in New Bedford to highlight the Administration’s commitment to South Coast Rail as a key component of an investment plan to grow jobs and expand economic opportunity.
The Governor’s plan includes the completion of the South Coast Rail Line with diesel-fueled commuter trains to connect Boston to Fall River and New Bedford. The $1.8 billion investment is expected to create 3,800 jobs and generate $500 million in new economic activity statewide annually. The plan includes a $1 billion annual investment in the Commonwealth’s transportation system to maintain the current transportation assets we have today and launch a number of high-impact transportation projects across Massachusetts that, if built, will create thousands of jobs and spur economic development across the Commonwealth.
“Opportunity is too important to leave to chance, but opportunity requires growth and growth requires investment. We have made a commitment to bring commuter rail to the South Coast because we know this will unlock new economic development opportunities while delivering a reliable transit choice for commuters with huge environmental benefits,” said Governor Patrick. “Working with our partners in the legislature, business community and cities and towns, we will invest in education, innovation and infrastructure to create a stronger Commonwealth for this generation, and the next.”
“MassDOT heard from thousands of citizens as we prepared our comprehensive transportation plan, “The Way Forward,” and the message was clear in this region and all across the Commonwealth – people want more transportation, not less,” said MassDOT Secretary & Chief Executive Officer Richard A. Davey. “South Coast Rail when combined with other strategic investments to maintain the regional transportation system will help the South Coast continue to grow for decades to come.”
Investments supporting South Coast Rail to date include the completed rebuilding of three New Bedford rail bridges funded by a $20 million federal TIGER grant that enhance current freight rail and will serve commuter rail, along with the completion of an historic agreement with CSX Transportation to purchase 30 miles of track from Taunton to Fall River and New Bedford necessary for South Coast Rail.
The South Coast Rail Economic Development and Land Use Corridor Plan, developed in 2009, has made strategic investments to assist the 31 Corridor communities in preparing for passenger rail through sustainable development and appropriate land use. The Plan identifies areas that are appropriate for new development near proposed South Coast Rail transit stations. The fifth round of technical assistance announced in October 2012 provided grants to 15 Corridor communities of $5,000- $25,000 to plan for sustainable, smart growth.
The Patrick-Murray Administration’s transportation investments in the future of the South Coast region also include the Accelerated Bridge Program “mega” project to rebuild the I-195, Route 79, and Route 138 intersection in Fall River along with improvements to Route 18 and other state roadways, and local road and bridge projects funded by Chapter 90.