Join us tomorrow, Thursday, October 29, 2015, at 6.00pm in Pittsfield, MA, to tell officials from the MassDOT (Department of Transportation) how important passenger train service is to western Massachusetts communities and businesses. Our efforts at the Train Campaign continue, and we need your voice and continued support. You’ll have a chance to get updates, too, from people at the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission. The MassDOT “Capital Conversation” will be held at Pittsfield City Hall, City Council Chamber, 70 Allen Street, Pittsfield, at 6.00pm on Thursday.
We will emphasize at the meeting and in the next stage of the campaign that Massachusetts DOT needs to follow through on the commitment to invest $3 million in the line during Fiscal Year 2016 and to follow through on the commitment made when purchasing the line from the Housatonic Railroad to invest at least $30 million to replace track and ties and other infrastructure, much of which has been in place since 1920. We will also insist that discussions of improved passenger rail service between Boston and Springfield should be expanded to Pittsfield and western Massachusetts and into New York State, too, at least through to Albany.
In addition, we’ll be emphasizing that passenger rail service is vital to the future of the Berkshires. Passenger rail service directly from Pittsfield to New York City will help to reverse our population losses and revitalize our weak economy. More of our tourism-based economy is oriented to the New York metropolitan market than elsewhere. Convenient, accessible rail transit is essential in attracting second home owners, part-time residents, and satellite branches of New York-based companies.
As many of you are aware, Connecticut has to be a key partner in the project, but we and other campaigners have so far got very little traction there. Much work needs to be done. Connecticut recently released its five- and thirty-year “vision” for transportation and freight/rail upgrades for the NWCT region were not even included in the five-year plan. Political action, and activism, is needed!Sign the petition!
We are still awaiting news about the federal TIGER grant proposal and expect to have an update within the next couple of weeks. Thanks to those who wrote letters in support and let’s keep up the effort, in Massachusetts this week, and on a wider scale in the months ahead.
Please fill out this short volunteer survey and get ready to roll up your sleeves. There’s a lot of research and outreach to be done. We need your help to Bring Back the Trains!