Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick announced a milestone agreement today in the effort to bring high- speed passenger rail service to western Massachusetts.
Governor Patrick arrived in Greenfield onboard a train from North Adams to announce a tentative agreement to have the state purchase the rail line between East Northfield on the Vermont border and Springfield. The 49-mile stretch is nearing the completion of a major restoration that will return passenger rail service to communities along the Connecticut River.
Flanked on his right by Dem. State Senator Ben Downing and Dem. State Representative Smitty Pignatelli on his left, Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, in red, digs into a pile of dirt Monday morning in Lee. The ceremony marked work on a two-mile stretch of Tyringham Road.
Top executives from a Chinese rail car company were back in Springfield, Massachusetts today continuing to lay the groundwork for a factory to build subway cars for the MBTA. Officials at a local college offered its school of engineering as a resource for the company.
A decision on building the $30 million factory in Springfield will be made by the end of the year, as Chanchung Railway Vehicles awaits word on the awarding of a contract potentially worth up to $1.5 billion to supply hundreds of new subway cars for the MBTA. Bids for the project are due by May 15th.
State legislators in Massachusetts are working to write a transportation bond bill. Funding is being sought for a couple of major transportation projects in Springfield.
The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority hopes to get state money to build a new maintenance and operations facility to replace a 100 –year- old former trolley barn that the administrator of the authority says is obsolete and too small to repair modern buses. Also an urgent need is seen to begin work to replace the aging elevated section of Interstate 91 in downtown Springfield.
Western Massachusetts residents gathered at Lee High School to weigh in on the proposed reinstatement of tolls from Exit 1 to Exit 6 on the Massachusetts Turnpike. The tolls would be set at the same rates as in 1996, when they were eliminated.
Parts of a large tax bill enacted to pay for transportation needs in Massachusetts are now the focus of separate repeal efforts. Petitions were filed with the Massachusetts attorney general today to begin a process that could put the repeal initiatives on the 2014 state election ballot.
A coalition of more than 20 business leaders from some of the state’s biggest companies, including Staples Inc. and Boston Scientific, signed the petition that seeks repeal of the recent expansion of the state’s sales tax to computer software services.
On Monday, Governor Patrick, Secretary of Transportation Richard Davey, and others boarded a train on the Housatonic Railroad and rode from the Connecticut border to Pittsfield.
The symbolic trip came after the governor had sought more than $1 billion in new revenues for transportation in his initial fiscal year 2014 budget proposal, a plan that contained dedicated funding for several priority projects, including $113 million for the rail expansion in Berkshire County.
Taxes on gasoline and cigarettes are set to increase after Massachusetts lawmakers voted to override Governor Deval Patrick's veto of a transportation financing bill.
The bill contains a 3 cent per gallon hike in the gas tax, along with a $1 per pack increase in the cigarette tax. Those tax hikes are scheduled to take effect in seven days.
Patrick vetoed the bill after lawmakers rejected his demand to add a provision allowing for an additional gas tax hike if tolls on the western portion of the Massachusetts Turnpike come down as scheduled in 2017.