March 16th, 2017
In the winter of 2015, Massachusetts residents experienced firsthand what happens when we fail to invest in our infrastructure. The MBTA absolutely fell apart, commuters were stranded, and our economy suffered as a result. For too long, Congress has failed to address the long-term needs of our transportation system.
That is why I joined my Democratic and Republican colleagues in support of H.R. 22, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST Act). This bipartisan legislation provides $281 billion in guaranteed funding for highway, transit, and transportation safety programs over the next five years. Of the total funding that is provided in the bill, Massachusetts has been apportioned $3.2 billion, which I am hopeful will provide much-needed financial support for infrastructure projects throughout the communities of Northeast Massachusetts.
Failing to invest in our transportation systems stunts economic growth and impedes our nation’s ability to remain competitive globally. While not perfect, the FAST Act is a step in the right direction, and I will continue to work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure that continued investments are made to repair and rebuild our aging roads, bridges, and railways.
A stronger economy requires a stronger transportation network, and that is why I have been a strong advocate for improving our commuter rail network, both in the Sixth District and throughout the state.
The Blue Line Extension project would be transformative for the city of Lynn and the surrounding communities by improving access to skilled workers, jobs, affordable housing, and new opportunities for economic development. Unfortunately, the Blue Line Extension proposal has encountered a series of financial and logistical hurdles that have prevented the project from moving forward. Despite these roadblocks, I’m going to continue working with the U.S. Department of Transportation and my colleagues at the state and local levels to find potential sources of revenue to get the Blue Line Extension project back on track.
I am also exploring a project that would connect North and South Stations, commonly referred to as the North-South Rail Link. This link would provide full commuter and subway connectivity for travelers throughout the Commonwealth. Current estimates show that the link would take 55,000 cars off the road daily and generate millions of dollars in new passenger revenue and operational savings. The North-South Rail Link would enable Sixth District residents to more easily access the South Shore, Western Massachusetts, and other parts of New England. This has the potential to be completely transformative for regional transit. However, we need to see how much this project would cost through a full cost-benefit analysis. I am encouraged by Governor Baker’s announcement to pursue a $2 million study of this project, which I hope will inform the discussion as we continue to set priorities for the long-term transportation needs of the Commonwealth.
The average commuter in our state spends over $1,400.00 per year as a result of being stuck in traffic. This is a problem that hurts our environment, our economy, and our quality of life. We must take a comprehensive and visionary approach to revitalize and reform our transportation system.
To view our North-South Rail Link presentation, click here.
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