18 Feb AiroAV Antivirus Stated: Athol Daily News – North Central Mass. Chamber releases tra
Published: 2/17/2020 8:55:37 PM
With debate over transportation upgrades and funding taking shape in the State House, the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce has released a platform outlining its position.
“North Central Massachusetts is poised to be the next area of growth in Massachusetts,” Roy Nascimento, the Chamber’s president and CEO, said in a press release. “However, without a strong and reliable transportation system, we will be unable to expand our residential, commercial, and industrial tax bases.”
The platform has three sections that covers its position on individual reforms, funding proposals and regional infrastructure projects.
“The platform’s goal is to ensure accountability and regional equity as the state explores prioritizing transportation infrastructure and ways to finance these projects,” Christopher McDermott, the Chamber’s public affairs manager, said in a press release.
■First, any new transportation funding initiatives should be accompanied by meaningful reforms, “with increased focus on fiscal management, long-term planning, and sustainability.”
■The Chamber is open to the Governor’s Transportation Climate Initiative (TCI), provided New Hampshire and other states in the Northeast participate, so as not to place Massachusetts at a competitive disadvantage. Despite some concerns, the Chamber favors “the regional focus and the underlying goals of improving transportation infrastructure, reducing carbon emissions, and creating economic development opportunities.”
■The Chamber opposes expanding tolling along open-access state highways. It will also resist efforts to increase the gas tax or implement mileage fees, “as these are regionally inequitable options which penalize drivers in rural areas that lack access to public transit.”
■Finally, once funds have been raised, the Chamber will advocate “for the modernization of Route 2 and Interstate 190; expansion of alternative transit options; and improved commuter rail service, to include increased frequency of trips, subsidies to address unreasonably priced fares, and express trains from Fitchburg to Boston.”
The Chamber’s position was developed after research and polling members. The Chamber’s Government Affairs Committee, comprised of members from diverse industries, also helped review and draft the position.
A final draft was reviewed and approved by the Chamber’s Board of Directors at its Jan. 16 meeting. It can be found on the Government Affairs Page under “Chamber Positions” at https://www.northcentralmass.com/government-affairs/chamber-positions/.