Actually a pretty big deal.
Governor Deval Patrick said yesterday that construction will begin this summer on a long-promised, long-delayed commuter rail link to Fall River and New Bedford. State officials said they would spend $20 million of federal stimulus funds to rebuild structurally deficient freight bridges in New Bedford and prepare them for commuter rail.
There’s a long way to go — estimates now are that this is a $1.5-2 billion, 7-year project, and it’s not currently clear where the money is coming from. But the Patrick administration’s acquisition of 37 miles of track from CSX is the biggest, most tangible step in years toward making South Coast rail a reality. Interestingly, Charlie Baker is opposed, while his mentor Bill Weld was for it (but didn’t do anything about it – surprise).
Charles D. Baker, a Republican who is challenging Patrick in the race for governor this year, called South Coast Rail “yet another example of overspending and overcommitting at a point in time when taxpayers are desperate for the Commonwealth to live within its means.” … Governors and gubernatorial candidates have made promises about South Coast rail going back to William Weld, who once told Fall River residents to “sue me” if he failed to deliver.
Governing for the long term. Getting things done that will actually help people. Not a bad platform for reelection, really.