DOT hopes rail grants will spur economic growth

Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray presented more than $660,000 in grants to three SouthCoast companies Tuesday to help rehabilitate commercial freight rail service to the region.
Murray called the grants, partially funded through the state’s Industrial Rail Access Program, “smart investments aimed at increasing the regional mobility of both people and goods.”
“This program is a commitment to jobs and development, especially in our Gateway Cities,” he said.
The awards partially fund projects by Church Street LLC & Frade’s Disposal in New Bedford to expedite their rail service; Maritime Terminal in New Bedford to rehabilitate an existing rail spur and loading dock to enable door-to-door use of rail to transfer inventory; and to Covanta SEMASS in Rochester to install a switch and 400 feet of track that would increase its shipping capacity.
Though the funding went to private companies, Murray said he viewed the grants as part of the administration’s vision for transportation reform in SouthCoast. He noted that Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration has worked hard to reconstruct Route 18 along New Bedford’s waterfront and that it is still working to bring the commuter rail to SouthCoast.
“We have committed to making more progress and investments in rail,” Murray said. “That linkage is critical to economic development and job growth.”
That lesson was not lost on New Bedford Mayor Jon Mitchell, who noted how transportation investments could revitalize the port.
“The money spent here is not charity, it’s a good investment,” he said.
He added he hopes the state would fund the extension of a rail spur “all the way down to South Terminal.”
State Sen. Mark Montigny agreed and thanked Murray for his and Patrick’s “dedication to regional equity for SouthCoast.”
“That means so much more to us than cutting ribbons and announcing grants,” he said.
By Ariel Wittenberg
May 01, 2013 12:00 AM
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