Commuter Rail Communities Coalition

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The Commuter Rail Communities Coalition is an alliance of mayors and town/city managers/administrators that seeks to identify concerns and ideas on commuter rail issues and opportunities, and advocate for short- and long-term improvements to the rail network.

The coalition is co-chaired by Lynn Mayor Tom McGee and Bedford Town Manager Sarah Stanton, and is staffed by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, the 495/MetroWest Partnership, Transportation for Massachusetts, the MBTA Advisory Board and TransitMatters.

See the co-chairs' welcome letter to municipal leaders, and a recent opinion piece in CommonWealth on why municipal leaders need to be at the table as the state sets a direction for the future of the rail network.

Who is the coalition: The chief elected and/or administrative officials (or their designees) of all municipalities served by the MBTA commuter rail are invited to participate in the coalition.

Our next meeting is on January 01, 2020, 10AM-12PM; location TBA.

If your municipality is interested in hosting a meeting for the coalition, or if you have ideas on topics or speakers at our upcoming events, please feel free to reach out to Travis Pollack at tpollack@mapc.org or Lizzi Weyant at eweyant@mapc.org.

See below for...

  1. Commuter Rail Communities Coalition materials
  2. Recent Commuter Rail news and reports
  3. MBTA/MassDOT rail project information
  4. Reports by advocacy organizations. 

1. Commuter Rail Communities Coalition Materials

Rail Vision

  • The Commuter Rail Communities Coalition on October 11, 2019 approved a statement in support of the most ambitious transformation of the Commuter Rail network considered under the Rail Vision study.
  • The Coalition Co-Chairs  submitted a letter on October 28, 2019 to the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board in support of the most ambitious scenario under consideration for Rail Vision.
  • The FMCB on November 4, 2019 voted a series of resolutions related to Rail Vision.

Priorities and Funding

October 11, 2019 meeting

The October 11 meeting featured a presentation by MassDOT Manager of Transit Planning Scott Hamwey on the results of the alternatives analysis, providing ridership, cost and service impacts for the six alternatives explored in the modeling process. Alexandra Markiewicz of MassDOT summarized the Toronto Metrolinx presentation, and Coalition members endorsed a statement on Rail Vision, and finalized a draft revenue/policy statement for circulation to all Coalition members for approval.

June 10, 2019 meeting

The June 10 meeting featured a presentation by MBTA Commuter Rail Executive Director Rob DiAdamo and MassDOT Manager of Transit Planning Scott Hamwey on the MBTA five-year capital plan as it relates to commuter rail. (Download the presentation here.) We also had a discussion on the state's capital and operating needs and the ways in which the Coalition can advocate most effectively.

March 11, 2019 meeting

The March 11 agenda included the of co-chairs Lynn Mayor Tom McGee and Bedford Town Manager Sarah Stanton, a discussion and revision to the coalition's policy priorities, and a presentation on the Rail Vision study from Scott Hamwey of MassDOT.

October 25, 2018 meeting

The October 25 meeting featured a discussion of governance structure, coalition priorities, leadership, and a presentation by the Keolis General Manager, David Scorrey.

June 12, 2018 meeting

The June 12 meeting featured a discussion of common areas of interest, and a presentation by the MBTA Rail Vision team.


2. Recent Commuter Rail reports and news


3. MBTA and MassDOT rail studies and projects

MBTA Rail Vision 

The MBTA's Rail Vision will identify cost-effective strategies to transform the MBTA's existing Commuter Rail system to better support improved mobility and economic competitiveness in the Boston region.

Focus40 (MBTA)

Focus40 is the 25-year investment plan for the MBTA, reflecting a comprehensive public engagement process for all modes of public transportation. A draft report has been published, with public comment due by September 21, 2018. The final report is expected in late 2018. 

MassDOT North South Rail Link Feasibility Reassessment Study

MassDOT conducted a study to help pinpoint the technical and financial needs in relation to the existing gap limiting connectivity between the North and South Stations in Boston, connectivity that affects the MBTA and Amtrak commuter rail systems.

MassDOT South Station Expansion

The purpose of the South Station Expansion project is to expand South Station Rail Terminal capacity and related layover capacity to meet current and anticipated future (2035) high-speed, intercity, and commuter rail service.

MassDOT South Coast Rail Project

The South Coast Rail project will restore commuter rail service between Boston and southeastern Massachusetts.

MassDOT East-West Passenger Rail Study

MassDOT is conducting a study to examine the costs, benefits, and investments necessary to implement passenger rail service from Boston to Springfield and Pittsfield, with the speed, frequency, and reliability necessary to be a competitive option for travel along this corridor.

MassDOT State Rail Plan

The 2018 Massachusetts State Rail Plan provides an overall plan for the development of rail transportation in the Commonwealth, including both passenger and freight.


4. Advocacy reports

Regional Rail White Paper (Transit Matters)

The Transit Matters Regional Rail report is a blueprint for comprehensive transit service using the existing commuter rail network, with upgrades to fleet, track and capacity.

The Promise and Potential of Transformative Transit-Oriented Development in Gateway Cities (MassINC)

The MassINC TTOD Report examines the economic opportunities associated with transit-oriented development at Gateway Cities commuter rail stations.

Transportation Dividend: Transit Investments and the Massachusetts Economy (A Better City)

A Better City's report weighs the economic benefits of the MBTA in comparison to the system's near-term capital needs, establishes the necessity of greater investment focus on reliability, capacity and connectivity.

 

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