Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray in Taunton today joined state and community leaders to announce the latest round of technical assistance awards to cities and towns to plan for train stations and economic development related to South Coast Rail, one year following Governor Deval Patrick's release of the South Coast Rail Economic Development and Land Use Corridor Plan.
Lieutenant Governor Murray also announced a new Executive Order to direct state investments toward the priority development and natural preservation areas identified in the plan.
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.
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 SouthCoast's forests, farms and habitat areas.
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.
In August 2009 Governor Patrick joined Congressman Barney Frank and Congressman James McGovern along with 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.