First, thanks to Franz Forster and Sue Baum for attending the Bring Back the Trains event on our behalf. We have good news! Governor Patrick had included $113M in our five year transportation capital plan to help restore the train service from Berkshire County to NYC and on July 16th, the Mass DOT announced that it finalized a purchase and sale agreement for 37 miles of rail line between the Pittsfield Intermodal Center and Connecticut to join the mainline to New York City. Connecticut would be responsible for nine miles of track on its side of the border through Litchfield County but no action has been taken to date. We will be reaching out to the REALTOR associations in Connecticut and to NAR to assist in helping move this forward. A date for the beginning of passenger service is dependent upon completion of the upgrades in both states. The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission is holding public meetings on their Passenger Rail Station Location and Design Study (track siting) this month!
Why it Matters:
Passenger service from Grand Central Terminal to Pittsfield will promote sustainable economic development and make the Berkshires a vibrant model for the kind of rural-urban connections needed in the 21st century. Businesses offering professional jobs will be far more likely to relocate to the Berkshires when there is easy access to New York, and existing businesses, schools, and organizations will thrive.
What to Do Now:
Please add your voice to those that think moving this project forward is important, and encourage friends, family, clients or colleagues to do the same. Go to http://berkshiretraincampaign.org/ to write to your reps and to sign the petition. The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission is about to release a draft Passenger Rail Station Location and Design Study, identifying suitable locations for passenger rail stations in the communities within the Housatonic Rail corridor. They will share four proposed station locations identified through the station location study, and will take comments or questions regarding the draft report:
Wednesday, 23 July 2014, 6-8pm at the Great Barrington Fire House (37 State Road)
Wednesday, 6 August 2014, 6-8pm at the Pittsfield Intermodal Center (1 Columbus Avenue, classroom)
If you have an interest in getting involved in this issue, please let us know.