On April 13 and 14, the MMA participated in a virtual Railroad Lobbying Day on Capitol Hill, meeting with Massachusetts members of Congress who serve on the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure.

Organized by the Association of American Railroads, with support from GoRail, the lobbying day emphasized the importance of the nation’s freight railroad system to the U.S. economy. Materials prepared for the lobbying day noted that America’s freight railroads are helping the U.S. recover from the COVID-19 pandemic; supporting job creation; combating climate change; and increasing the nation’s productivity and competitiveness.

North Adams Mayor Tom Bernard joined the MMA in meetings with staff for representatives Seth Moulton, Jake Auchincloss and Stephen Lynch and Sen. Ed Markey, who serves on the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation.

The MMA expressed support for the Association of American Railroads’ opposition to any provisions that would permit longer and heavier trucks on roadways. Proposed changes to federal law regarding truck length and weight would likely shift traffic off railroads and onto highways, with detrimental impacts on road infrastructure and transportation emissions.

Mayor Bernard emphasized the importance of expanded passenger rail to achieving regional transportation equity in Massachusetts, making the case for East-West/West-East and Northern Tier passenger rail.

In January, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation released its East-West Passenger Rail Study final report, which analyzes options for passenger rail service across the length of the state. The MassDOT is currently reviewing bids for a Northern Tier Passenger Rail Study, which would analyze options for passenger rail service from North Adams to Boston along a northern route.

For information about opportunities to engage on federal and state rail policy, contact GoRail Massachusetts State Director Nate Kaplan at nkaplan@gorail.org.

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