PAR Sale: MA Western Delegation Letter Lists Concerns

FOURTEEN STATE LEGISLATORS LIST REGIONAL CONSIDERATIONS FOR SEC'Y POLLACK TO INSERT INTO PROSPECTIVE SALE


December 16, 2020

Stephanie Pollack
Secretary of Transportation
Massachusetts Department of Transportation 10 Park Plaza, Suite 4160
Boston, MA 02116

 

Dear Secretary Pollack:

RE: Pam Am Railways Inc Acquisition by CSX Corp.

On November 30, 2020, CSX Corp. (CSX) announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Pan Am Railways, Inc. (Pan Am). This sale will have significant long-term implications on both freight and passenger rail in the Commonwealth. It is essential for MassDOT to actively engage in conversations with CSX and be involved in Surface Transportation Board (STB) proceedings in order to ensure maximum benefit for the Commonwealth.

We strongly believe that this sale presents a unique opportunity for the state to preserve existing rail infrastructure and assets while also enhancing existing rail operations and expanding passenger rail in the future. We write now specifically about western Massachusetts which could benefit significantly from this sale in several ways.

We ask that the following be included as conditions of any sale agreement before the Commonwealth lends its support:

● Secure a commitment from both Norfolk Southern and CSX to honor the existing rail agreements with MassDOT and the MBTA

● Secure future passenger rail rights or acquire the trackage along the Route 2 Corridor to New York and the East-West Rail Corridor to New York

● Ensure the continued operation of the East Deerfield Rail Yard and the protection of existing jobs

● Guarantee uninterrupted dispatching of passenger trains along the Connecticut River Main Line between East Northfield and Springfield

● Ensure continued day-to-day maintenance of the Knowledge Corridor that Pan Am currently provides

● Commitment to design and fund the reconfiguration of the CSX interlocking at Springfield Union Station and the installation of new track to connect to the Connecticut River line

● Successfully implement a pilot of the Berkshire Flyer service from New York City to Pittsfield, via Albany/Rensselaer station, starting no later than summer of 2021; in the short-term immediately finalize a capacity modeling study for the Berkshire Flyer service for this purpose.

● Identify and secure the rights to expand the bike path network along abandoned rail lines

It is our hope that MassDOT is actively communicating with CSX about these Commonwealth passenger and freight rail priorities. We respectfully request a meeting with you and your team at your earliest convenience to discuss the Commonwealth’s goals and actions in this process, including the items outlined above.

 

Warmest regards,

Joanne M. Comerford
State Senator
Hampshire, Franklin, Worcester District
Daniel R. Carey
State Representative
Second Hampshire District
Anne M. Gobi
State Senator
Worcester, Hampden, Hampshire, Middlesex District
Mindy Domb
State Representative
Third Hampshire District
Adam G. Hinds
State Senator
Berkshire, Hampshire, Franklin, Hampden District
Tricia Farley-Bouvier
State Representative
Third Berkshire District
Eric P. Lesser
State Senator
First Hampden and Hampshire
Carols Gonzalez
State Representative
Tenth Hampden District
Brian M. Ashe
State Representative
Second Hampden District
Lindsay Sabadosa
State Representative
First Hampshire District
John Barrett III
State Representative
First Berkshire District
Aaron Vega
State Representative
Fifth Hampden District
Natalie M. Blais
State Representative
First Franklin District
Joseph F. Wagner
State Representative
8th Hampden District