Montigny Demands Answers on South Coast Rail After Email Flub
NEW BEDFORD - An email sent out by state officials that states the South Coast Rail Project will run through Middleboro rather than Stoughton was a mistake. The State Transportation Secretary says the email was not supposed to have been sent, but appeared to indicate that the state had made a decision to begin work on Phase One of the project in Middleboro.
State Senator Mark Montigny says he just wants answers so the project can move forward. "I'm fine with either the Stoughton Route or the Middleboro Route, as long as it's justified based on leadership; as long as construction begins as quickly as possible and the financing is in place to complete the line. I'm just tired of all the press releases and the cheerleading," said Montigny.
Senator Montigny says if the state has made a decision on which route it will build up, the state should put it's money where it's mouth is by enacting a law that allows the state to begin construction south of Copley Junction in Taunton while the state decides how that route will get to Boston. "What I'm saying to this governor, as I said to Deval Patrick, 'You have a law. It was signed by one of your predecessors. I wrote it. It says you can go to 100% design and begin construction. Everything else is puff pieces and press releases."
Montigny is now calling for a complete and accurate briefing on South Coast Rail to get a definitive answer as to what route the state intends on funding.
Phase One of the project would include building a new station in Middleboro that extends to stations in Fall River and New Bedford, connecting the Southcoast to Boston via rail line.
Below are several key measures filed by Senator Montigny and passed into law, emphasizing the need to commit key resources to the South Coast:
Chapter 11 of 1997, Section 91
SECTION 91. For the purpose of furthering the extension of commuter rail to New Bedford and Fall River, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is hereby directed, as authorized in section 2J of chapter 205 of the acts of 1996, to begin, in calendar year 1997, the design and permitting of those portions of track which extend from the city of New Bedford to Myricks junction, so-called, in the town of Berkley, and from the city of Fall River to said Myricks junction in said town of Berkley.
Chapter 125 of 2000, Section 14
SECTION 14. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority shall use an extension of the Stoughton commuter rail route through the municipalities of Stoughton, Easton, Raynham and Taunton in order to provide commuter rail service to New Bedford and Fall River. Notwithstanding the provisions of any general or special law to the contrary, said authority may expend funds, including but not limited to the amounts appropriated in item 6005-9906 of section 2 for the design, permitting and construction of said rail line for the area south of the site known as Cotley Junction.
Chapter 303 of 2008
Line Item 6001-0804….. provided further, that not less than $30,000,000 shall be expended for the South Coast Rail Initiative; provided further, that notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the authority may expend funds authorized in this act and additional funds as previously authorized including, but not limited to, the amounts appropriated in item 6005-9906 of section 2 of chapter 125 of the acts of 2000 for the design, permitting and construction of the South Coast Rail line for the area south of Cotley Junction;