Report on Rail Users Network Boston Conference

Reporting to the rail group, I thinkwas the only Rhode Islander at the excellent Rail Users Network (RUN) Boston conference last Friday.  Speakers/panelists included FTA Planner Noah Berger (with whom I indicated concerns over the proposed $400 million busway to nowhere RIDOT promotes), MBTA General Manager Frank DePaola (who discussed both short and long-term MBTA planning), local Keolis head Gerard Francis (commuter rail), Astrid Glynn from MassDOT (talked with the last 2 about MBTA-RIPTA fare coordination), Amtrak's Rina Cutler who does their major train station planning, a panel on the north-south rail link (including Mike Dukakis who had some harsh words for Reagan, praise for Weld who is now supportive) that had a detailed argument for its support, another panel of community activists seeking some kind of rapid transit on the Fairmount line and the Somerville Green Line extension.

Among other questions, I asked about commuter rail electrification, which is mandated for any south coast commuter rail to Fall River/New Bedford, needed for the north-south rail link, sought by Fairmont activists, and on the long-term MBTA wish list.  I think we should say something about it in commenting on our 10 year TIP hearing.

Barry Schiller