BOSTON – Tuesday, September 18, 2012 – Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray released a progress report yesterday, titled “Transforming the Rail Network for Economic and Community Development” (attached). The report provides an extensive overview of accomplishments achieved in Massachusetts as a result of the historic agreement with CSX Corporation, a national railroad carrier.
“Transportation is the enabling network of our economy – it’s about getting people and businesses from one location to another,” said Lieutenant Governor Murray. “I have worked closely with many critical partners and stakeholders to advance the CSX agreement and invest in improved freight and commuter rail service. This progress report outlines how our rail system is evolving across the state, and simultaneously highlights the need to have continued conversations to enhance economic and community development in impacted regions.”
Since taking office in 2007, improving the state’s transportation infrastructure has been a key priority of the Patrick-Murray Administration. As part of the Massachusetts State Rail Plan, the Administration has strategically invested close to $1 billion in the state’s rail system through competitive grants, public funds and private sector capital. These investments, some ongoing, represent the most significant improvements in the Commonwealth’s rail system as a whole in decades.
Among the range of investments across the state, the historic agreement between the Commonwealth and CSX Corporation is the most transformative with significant impacts to freight and rail service in Central Massachusetts, Metrowest, Western Massachusetts, Boston and South Coast regions. Lieutenant Governor Murray, who worked on the CSX agreement since he was Mayor of Worcester, led negotiations for the agreement on behalf of the Administration with critical support from the Governor, Senator John Kerry and Congressman Jim McGovern. The compact is being finalized in two parts, beginning with an initial closing in June of 2010, which set the entire project in motion, including the permitting processes and infrastructure work needed to allow for the relocation of CSX operations.
The second closing, scheduled for early October will complete the full transaction and allow for:
· Expanding commuter rail service to the Metrowest/Worcester areas by taking ownership and control of the rail line between Framingham and Worcester.
· Raising the railroad bridge clearances from Westborough to the New York State line to allow, for the first time in state history, the double-stacking of full-size freight containers on trains serving Massachusetts. This will increase freight capacity, reduce costs, and give Massachusetts companies better access to national and Asian markets.
· Making possible the eventual restoration of commuter rail service to the South Coast by taking ownership of the rail lines that run from Boston to New Bedford and Fall River.
· Relocating the CSX freight rail operations now in Boston at the Beacon Park Yard, to rail yards in Westborough, Worcester and West Springfield. This relocation will allow for the redevelopment of an 80+- acre parcel along the Charles River to serve as a new gateway district for the city.
With the second closing, the full transaction will be complete and in total, the Commonwealth will pay CSX $100 million for:
· 45 miles of the Framingham/Worcester Commuter Rail line between Boston and Worcester
· 37 miles of rail lines running south from Taunton to Fall River and New Bedford
· 8 miles known as the Grand Junction, which runs from Allston, across the Charles River, through Cambridge, Charlestown, Everett and Chelsea
· 2 miles known as the Boston Terminal Running Track which extends from Dorchester to South Boston, including the West First Street Yard
As part of this public-private partnership, CSX is investing $129 million for rail yards in Worcester, Westborough and West Springfield to expand and enhance freight services throughout the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth and CSX have also worked together to complete bridge work at 31 locations across the state, from the New York border to Worcester, to raise the clearance to allow for the double-stacking of full-size freight containers. Through this initiative, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation has raised clearances at 14 of those locations by investing $72 million and CSX has completed the work for the remaining sites.