Rep. Smitty Pignatelli has been asked to be the lead sponsor of this legislation and the Train Campaign is looking forward to his sponsorship as well as support from the full Berkshire delegation:
The Massachusetts department of transportation shall convene a working group to be referred to as the Berkshire Passenger Rail Service Working Committee to evaluate and issue a report on the economic and environmental benefits to the Berkshires, other western counties of the Commonwealth, and to the Commonwealth as a whole of establishing year-round, multiple-trip-per-day passenger rail service between the cities of Boston and Pittsfield and the cities of New York and Pittsfield, with a shared terminus in the city of Pittsfield.
The working group shall assess the short- and long-term economic benefits of such service from: (1) direct and indirect jobs; (2) access to education and employment in and around major northeast metropolitan areas (Boston, New York, southern Connecticut); (3) access to affordable housing opportunities by citizens and businesses in the eastern, central, and western regions of the Commonwealth; (4) tourism, and; (5) tax and other revenues to the Commonwealth and municipalities in the Berkshires. The assessment shall include the existing Housatonic Line, from Pittsfield to the border between Massachusetts and Connecticut, continuing through Connecticut into New York.
The report shall include an analysis of the potential impact on public sector revenues, home values, and environmental and traffic-related benefits. Environmental benefits to be assessed shall include but not be limited to the following: climate-change resilience, reduction in overall carbon emissions, transit-oriented development, and green-energy job creation.
The first meeting of the Berkshire Passenger Rail Service Working Committee shall take place no later than September 1, 2019. The working group membership shall include, but not be limited to, the Massachusetts secretary of transportation or a designee, the secretary of housing and economic development or a designee, the secretary of energy and environment or a designee, two members of the state house of representatives to be appointed by the speaker and two members of the state senate to be appointed by the senate president, the congressman or designee from the 1st and 2nd Massachusetts congressional districts, the United States senators or their designees, the mayor of the city of Pittsfield, a designee from the Berkshire County Regional Planning Commission, a representative of existing rail service stakeholders, and a representative of a Berkshire passenger rail advocacy group. The secretary of the department of transportation or a designee shall chair the working group.
The working group shall submit its report to the Massachusetts department of transportation, the senate and house chairs of the joint committee on transportation, the chairs of the senate and house committees on ways and means, and the senate and house chairs of the joint committee on tourism, arts and cultural development on or before May 1, 2020.
Write in support! Your voice counts whether you are a voter, a resident, or a second-home owner or renter. Our suggested text is below, but of course you can write anything you please. Be sure to include your name and address. If you like, please copy other legislators, and us, too. Here are the email addresses:
Dear Representative Pignatelli,
I’m writing in support of a study I learned about from the Train Campaign that would assess the short- and long-term economic benefits of passenger rail service in terms of: (1) direct and indirect jobs; (2) access to education and employment in and around major northeast metropolitan areas (Boston, New York, southern Connecticut); (3) access to affordable housing opportunities by citizens and businesses in the eastern, central, and western regions of the commonwealth; (4) increased tourism, and; (5) tax and other revenues to the Commonwealth and municipalities in the Berkshires.
It’s also important to include an assessment of environmental benefits: climate-change resilience, reduction in overall carbon emissions, transit-oriented development, and green-energy job creation.
I am confident that this will have your support and sponsorship and would appreciate hearing from you about this issue.
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