Pioneer Valley Planning Commission

WAMC

A new phase of a major highway construction project in western Massachusetts is scheduled to begin this week, one that could result in more delays for motorists and more noise for people who live and work near the project. 

MassDOT announced the contractor on the project to reconstruct the elevated portion of Interstate 91 in downtown Springfield will begin demolishing the reinforced concrete bridge deck of the highway. The work, scheduled to begin Wednesday, will take place on the inner northbound lane of the I-91 viaduct.

WAMC

Commuter trains could begin running on new high speed rail tracks in western Massachusetts with stops in Springfield, Holyoke, Northampton and Greenfield as soon as the spring of 2017.  That was the prediction this week from the state’s top transportation official. 

Massachusetts Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollock said MassDOT will develop a memorandum of understanding with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission for a demonstration project on the Knowledge Corridor rail line.

"  We would see it as a pilot service," Pollack said.

WAMC

$120 million in federal and state money was spent over the last three years to build a high speed rail line, with new track, ties, switches, and stations, running parallel to the Connecticut River in Massachusetts.  Now local officials are working to get more trains running on that line called the Knowledge Corridor.

WAMC

This is Bay State Bike Week.  The annual event began 15 years ago as a small regional effort in the Pioneer Valley to promote riding bicycles to work.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Josiah Niederbach of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission one of the organizers of bike week.

US Cuts Fail To Slow New England High-Speed Rail

Jan 20, 2014

Higher-speed trains and inter-city rail service in New England remain on track despite a congressional budget deal that eliminated spending.

Transportation officials in Connecticut and Massachusetts say money has already been allocated from stimulus spending in 2009 and other federal funds. Work on a higher-speed rail line in Vermont was completed in 2012, and officials are looking to extend rail service from the shoreline of Long Island Sound to western Massachusetts.

At a meeting today in Chicopee ,top federal and state housing officials praised a newly released plan for expanding access to housing in a large area of western Massachusetts.

The report by the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission is the first effort to create a regional housing plan that covers 43 diverse western Massachusetts communities including impoverished urban centers, well-off suburbs, and rural sparsely populated towns. 

WAMC

Massachusetts is going to offer a secure electronic data storage service for municipalities at a new facility in Springfield. Its part of an effort by the state to help communities with information technology needs.   WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports