NEW: Lt. Governor Murray: Transportation ‘Critical’ in Massachusetts
Tuesday, March 27, 2012
Outside, several blocks away, work continued on the $100-million expansion of the CSX freight yard; commuters hopped on and off trains heading in and out of Boston; and cars and trucks bustled along city streets and on I-290.
“Our investment in rail makes sense for New England,” Murray said in a talk centering on meeting the state’s transportation needs.
Someday, he said, there will be far fewer vehicles rumbling along the state’s roads and highways, and far more trains rolling across New England – commuter and commercial. The result, he said, will be greater employment.
“There are 400 jobs in the construction phase alone,” Murray said of the rail yard expansion. “There will be more jobs beyond that.”
“It’s all about jobs. This creates jobs,” he said. “We want to make sure the whole commonwealth is opened up in a way that allows companies and businesses to expand.”
As that happens, he said, more ways for people to get to and from work. Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration is working with the city to boost the number of trains going in and out of Boston from 12 to 20-25, he said.
“We’re exploring the possibility of some express trains at times, too,” he added.
Right now, said Murray, 25,000 cars make the gateway into Boston each day. With the CSX expansion of 80 acres of rail yard in Worcester, “We have a huge opportunity to transfer the gateway into the city.”
There is, Murray said, great synergy between the Boston, the state’s largest city, and Worcester, its second largest. He also included the Metro-West area.
“My advocacy for transportation has been seen by people east of here as parochial,” Murray said of his years spent as a city councilor, mayor and now lieutenant governor advocating for greater transportation opportunities in the city. “With deeper analysis into the CSX deal and the MBTA and efforts in acquiring rail, there really is better appreciation for what this will mean for Central Mass, Greater Boston and Western Mass.”
The issue of transportation, Murray said, can be seen as technical, or “clunky,” but in all its forms, “they’re really the enabling networks of our economy. It’s how children get to school. It's how families get food at the supermarket.”
A transportation network, he said, is critical.
“We have pushed hard to bring about negotiations with CSX,” Murray said. “Now it is being implemented.”
He spoke of 30 miles of track to be laid in southeastern Mass, reaching areas such as Taunton, Fall River and New Bedford, “in hopes of rail service to a part of the state that is shut off as far as rail transportation.”
Murray said the Patrick administration is taking a holistic approach to transportation.
“We tried to bring a more coordinated approach to the issue,” he said.
Such an approach is needed, according to state Sen. Thomas McGee, D-Lynn, Senate chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation, who was at the Expo.
The state is in a “transportation crisis,” he said, and is spending about $1 billion less a year than what it should be spending.
While it has enraged thousands, the ongoing MBTA struggle to mend an estimated fiscal 2013 budget deficit of more than $180 million has, in at least one way, been a good thing.
“The T crisis has allowed us to highlight the crisis we face overall with transportation,” McGee said. “We’re focusing more on that now.”
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