The Fall River Area and New Bedford Area Chambers of Commerce invited Lt. Governor Karyn Polito to speak at their annual Legislative Luncheon at Rachel's Lakeside in Dartmouth Thursday. 

During her address, Polito spoke about the importance of state and local government support for small business and the need for government to take a "customer service focused" approach to serving constituents.

Better utilization of regional assets is one way for economic growth to continue throughout the Southcoast and the Commonwealth, according to Polito.

One recent example of this practice is the recent state investment in refrigeration on State Pier.

"We knew that if we could invest in that refrigeration that it would attract even more shipments to that area," Polito said.

The Administration also plans to help fund upcoming studies on uses for the City's waterfront and a thorough count of Atlantic Cod count.

Polito also said support for vocational and technical education is also essential for closing the workforce skills gap for future generations.

As with any state official visiting the Southcoast, questions about future rail service were a major part of the afternoon.

Polito said she and Governor Charlie Baker support the further study of a Middleboro Commuter Rail service to connect the region with Boston.

"We want something that's both affordable and achievable but also something that will happen in the near future and not keep drifting off in the far distant future," said Polito.

According to Polito, the Middleboro line would cost around $2 billion and the project could be completed in five years. That is much lower than current estimates for the previous proposal of Southcoast Rail.

Gov. Baker also offered an opinion on expanded rail service after speaking at a dedication ceremony at Bristol Community College's Fall River campus.

"I want to do whatever makes sense for the region and I want the region to be happy and comfortable with whatever we choose to pursue," Baker said. "This is supposed to be a collaborative venture."

The state is currently considering line extension projects in Middleboro and Stoughton.