Thursday, 4:30 PM
South Coast commuter rail talks draw protestors
Mac Daniel, Globe Staff
Protesters greeted Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray and Transportation Secretary Bernard Cohen in Easton this morning at the start of a daylong tour to talk to local officials about extending commuter rail service to Fall River and New Bedford.
The 25 protestors, who carried signs that said things such as "Don't change our town," object to the proposed rail project because they say it will increase traffic and substantially alter the small-town charm of Easton. They charge that one proposed route for the rail line would send trains through the Hockomock Swamp Wildlife Management Area, which is home to some endangered reptiles.
Murray and Cohen plan to meet today with officials in Raynham, Taunton, Fall River, and New Bedford to discuss the rail service and visit proposed station sites. Cohen described the tour as a fact finding visit to help the state develop its proposal for extending the commuter rail line.
The final route of the line will largely determine if and when it gets built. Governor Deval Patrick and Murray promised during their campaign to extend rail service to the South Coast, but the administration has released few detail about when the rail line would be built or how it would be financed.
The state is scheduled to release details about the proposed commuter rail extension on April 4. While officials have not specified a price tag for the project, recent estimates have put that cost at more than $800 million.