The Berkshire Train Campaign

A group advocating for passenger rail service from the Berkshires to New York City is launching a new volunteer effort to bring its message to a wider audience.

Karen Christensen, a Great Barrington resident and founder and CEO of the Berkshire Publishing Group, said she first became interested in advocating to bring passenger rail service from New York to the Berkshires after returning from a trip to China in August of 2011. After communicating with her neighbors, colleagues, and other business owners, by late 2012, she had founded the Berkshire Train Campaign.

Lawmakers in the Berkshires are reacting to the fiscal year 2014 budget signed by Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick on Friday.

Last week, Governor Patrick signed a $33.6 billion state budget into law. Patrick’s initial budget proposal called for significant investments in education, which lawmakers in the Berkshires supported.

Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick today signed the fiscal year 2014 budget into law and vetoed millions of dollars dedicated toward transportation and local aid in a bid to pressure lawmakers to accept his revisions to a still unresolved transportation finance bill.

Governor Patrick addressed reporters at a press conference after signing the $33.6 billion spending plan. He paid specific attention to programs that aim to close the achievement gap, reduce healthcare costs, and prevent youth violence. 


Democratic lawmakers in the Berkshires have voiced their support for a transportation budget that would reinstate tolls on the Massachusetts Turnpike from the New York border through Springfield.

Planning efforts surrounding economic development through the life sciences and transportation in the Berkshires are about to head into their next stages.

The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission is asking county residents to weigh in on planning efforts examining potential station locations for North-South passenger rail between Pittsfield and the state border with Connecticut, as part of a $240,000 federal grant. 


The Massachusetts House of Representatives is poised to vote on raising taxes, including a 3 cent increase in the gasoline tax, to fund the state’s transportation system.

   The $500 million dollar tax increase faces an uncertain fate in the Massachusetts Senate, according to Democratic State Senator James Welch of West Springfield.

Berkshire Regional Transit Authority

The transportation funding plan unveiled by Democratic leaders in the Massachusetts state legislature has been met with a mixed response, with Democratic Governor Deval Patrick threatening to veto the plan if certain objectives aren’t met and House Republicans criticizing the plan for raising taxes without making other reforms to government.

And lawmakers in the Berkshires seem to be equally as divided on supporting the plan introduced by House Speaker Robert Deleo and Senate President Therese Murray, both Democrats, last week.

Berkshire Regional Transit Authority

Democratic leaders in the Massachusetts legislature and House Republicans both answered Governor Deval Patrick’s 2014 transportation budget with plans of their own, but the governor is warning that a plan too small would hurt low and middle income families .

On Tuesday, top Democrats in the Massachusetts legislature including Senate President Therese Murray, House Speaker Robert DeLeo, and chairs of the House and Senate Ways and Means committees released a transportation plan to rival investments called for in Governor Patrick’s fiscal year 2014 budget proposal.

Berkshire Regional Transit Authority

A recently launched grassroots campaign advocating for improved public transportation in the Berkshires is now online, and some are hoping that it will catch on in communities across Massachusetts. 

The Wish I Had Transit campaign was recently launched by volunteers in the Northern Berkshires, in less than two weeks since the idea of using social media to demonstrate the need for improved public transportation was discussed at a community forum in North Adams.

Massachusetts’ Secretary of Transportation visited the Berkshires on Thursday to pitch the governor’s transportation budget, and to discuss the newly filed transportation bond bill with local legislators and heads of town governments.