Support South Coast Rail Service To Wareham By Providing Public Commentary!

By Peter W. Teitelbaum | May 15, 2017

Those who wish to see commuter rail service return to Wareham for the first time since 1959 are urged to to provide commentary to the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Agency (MEPA) by May 19th.  Projects of this size and scope are subject to mandatory state environmental review.

 

The link to submit your comments is here:

http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/southcoastrail/Environmental.aspx#comment

 

Below is the text of a letter I wrote on behalf of the Board of Selectmen that may be helpful in your consideration of the issue:

 

Dear Secretary Beaton:

 

I write to inform you that the Town of Wareham Board of Selectmen recently voted unanimously to support Phase I of the South Coast Rail Notice of Project Change, i.e. the proposal to initiate rail service from New Bedford and Fall River to Boston utilizing existing rail lines through Taunton to the Middleboro to Boston line.  We also support Alternative Two, which would use a shuttle service to and from the existing Middleboro and Bridgewater stations.

 

In our view, this alternative makes sense not only to get rail service from New Bedford and Fall River to Boston up and running as soon as possible, but also provides the simplest means for MassDOT to add rail service to benefit the Town of Wareham, the Town of Bourne, and other communities on Cape Cod.  As you likely already know, the track extending down from Middleboro through Wareham and onto Cape Cod has already been upgraded for the CapeFlyer operation, as have the crossings and some of the signals along this route.

 

Adopting Alternative Two makes good environmental sense in two ways.  First, less time, construction and land clearing would be required under Alternative Two than under Alternative One, which calls for a new Middleboro station to be built.  Second, Alternative Two would make it easier for MassDOT to add a third Wareham/Cape Cod line to South Coast rail service, thus getting more cars off the road and getting more commuters and those seeking to travel to Boston for medical, cultural, sporting and airport reasons into a more energy-efficient mode of travel.

 

Alternative Two is strongly supported by our local State Representative, Susan Williams Gifford, and also State Representative Straus of Mattapoisett, who is the House Chairman of the legislature's Joint Committee on Transportation.  Both Representatives have long worked on transportation issues, and we support and appreciate the leadership role they have taken in becoming early endorsers of Alternative Two.

 

Accordingly, we urge your office, through the MEPA review process, to support this alternative.  Thank you for your consideration of our input into the MEPA review process, and please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions or comments.

 

Comments (2)
Posted by: Dick Paulsen | May 24, 2017 08:45

It's interesting.

 

In another article, about a supposed illegal fish catch, there are about six or seven comments.  But, about this, the train extension, arguably more important to the town, nary a word of comment.

 

It might prove useful to see some documentation.  For instance, if the train service came, what might be the level of ridership, and "might" is the operative word? If train service came, presumably GATRA service to Middleboro could be eliminated and save tax payers money, albeit indirectly.

 

One presumes that when the train revive came to Middleboro, real estate values increased.  If so, and in comparison to other towns without service, by how much?

 

i guess what I am saying is what are some of  the economic metrics.  All government proposals are "good," no politician would venture out and extoll the benefits of a "bad" proposal.

 

On the surface, this sounds like a good idea. But tax dollars are involved and choices have to be made. "Show me the money" comes to mind.

 



Posted by: Steve Holmes | May 24, 2017 10:46

Dick, way back when the train came to Middleboro, we were looking to purchase a home in Carver. When we were just looking, the home and nice property was asking about 110K as I remember. Then the announcement came that the train service was coming, and it was about a 10-15 minute ride from the property, that property sold for 249K. All other properties we were looking at ended up with the same results, selling prices skyrocketed. We kicked ourselves for not moving on the deals sooner. But once the rain came it priced us out of that town. I have said all along, if this station comes with overnight parking, then it will be a gold mine. Without the overnight parking it will do OK, but not nearly as well. Folks like me that travel have to get a ride from someone or Uber to take the train to Boston today, if I was in Matt, Marion, Fairhaven or New Bedford, it's much easier to take the car to the airport, or have a service take me and pick me up. But if Wareham provided that service at our station, and the Town managed it, that really would be a great shot in the arm for our revenue stream.



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