To the Editor,
Advocates have made a strong case for identifying solutions to growing rural transit poverty. Soon the E/W Rail Study Committee will vote to pare down from six to three final proposals.
Survey data and Census projection’s, make clear the current unmet and growing transit needs of our aging population The search for the best answer must be viewed through a broad aperture of Equality, Liberty and Fraternity, using evidence based decision making.
It will require partnerships on the Federal, State, Regional and Local playing fields. A multi-modal approach, including Amtrak, MassDOT RTA’s and local COA’s. Both the E/W Rail initiative and RTA improvement recommendations, present us with the best opportunity in our lifetime, to invent the future our neighbor’s require today. Why Rail, why now?? Commuter Rail with Station stops in Chester & Palmer (both in two of the current six proposal’s) would create reservoir’s, filled by their surrounding watershed population’s.
A powerful Commuter Rail strategy will encourage living in rural areas, allowing current residents to stay, while attracting new populations. Daily trips between Springfield/Pittsfield and beyond will provide relief to decades of depressed rural economies and bring connectivity to new cultures. New residents will have the opportunity to escape the high cost and crush of big City living as a result of expanded mobility. Vehicular transit, still the #1 emission climate killer, would be reduced, as well as traffic congestion. Using Bio fuels & electric propulsion will help decarbonization and allow us to move in the direction of a Net Zero goal. Fifty years ago we sent people to the Moon. Surely we can send Commuter Rail car’s between Springfield/Pittsfield again. Chester’s own original Western RR, aka “Railway to the Moon”, was the answer to economical, reliable mobility for generations. It remains the solution readily available today.
Our Class 1 rail infrastructure is the finest in the world, with Positive Train Control and Safety Management Systems, providing improved reliability, safety, speed and increased capacities.
RTA Professionals should become ‘mobility managers’ in their areas of responsibility and aim higher/do more to create new transit option’s for Communities at risk.
Develop micro-transit start ups, personal vehicle Driver Pools, expanded COA shared Vans to provide a lifeline of connectivity to FRTA & BRTA, including option’s for routine & recurring medical appointments. RTAs should embrace the MassDOT recommendation to allow cross County access. This would provide use of BRTAs ADA service for Berkshire County border community Town’s like Blandford, Chester & Middlefield.
The two most important letters in our Democracy are w & e, as in WE the people.
Now is the time for Citizens to speak out and make their opinion’s known to our Legislative Delegation, MassDOT, FRTA & BRTA and your Town’s COA. Engage, Educate, Empower, Encourage, Expect. Our success will insure sustainability of our Hilltown way of life…now and in the decade’s to follow.
Everything we do to help people thrive, will be reflected in a better life for all.
RFK said, ‘some see thing’s as they are and ask why?
Other’s see thing’s as they could be and ask…why not?’
Dream Big…Fight Hard…Win for All
For all things Rail & RTA, Please visit westernmassrail.org & Mass.Gov/DOT