MBTA13 wrote: BostonUrbEx wrote:
MBTA13 wrote:Now 7 years later there is still no chance of this happening. It would be a good addition to the CR but unless you could come up with a line the services Peabody, Danvers, and all those points in between it won't happen. Being 160 million in debt this isn't happening anytime soon. HOWEVER if all of these proposed cuts with the bus line in and around the northshore area go through, this could potentially happen. But that is a whole different conversation.
The project would be funded primarily by the state and likely some kicked in from the feds as well. The MBTA would just be covering the operations cost, perhaps replacing any Salem or Beverly short turns with a run to Peabody/Danvers.
I don't understand "unless you could come up with a line the services Peabody, Danvers, and all those points in between it won't happen." The line has been figured out. So what is there to come up with?
No one has any money to invest the $38 million that has been projected, not the state, feds, and certainly the MBTA/MBCR. Even if there was money to do this, Danvers and Peabody would both be buying for rail expiation which is why I said a route would have to be laid out that can service both Danvers, Peabody, and the other stops that have been talked about in between i.e. the malls, 128/95, route 1, and both Peabody and Danvers square. The past talk about have two different lines to service those points would never be likely to happen. Plus looking at how long and how painful building the garages in Salem and Beverly have been, a project of this magnitude would take years to plan and contract out before any work got done. So at that time the lines would be father into disrepair and it would cost more money. The only line that would be kept to lowest possible standards (PAR standard) is to Eastman.
Danvers is out. The town entered into a 99-year trail lease with the T in 2011 to trail over the line north from Peabody Sq. to the Newburyport Branch trail at Danvers Jct. Rails were ripped out this fall. That eliminates "Option B"
to Endicott Plaza from the North Shore improvements study and/or doing the original (too ambitious) twin-pronged terminals at Peabody and Danvers a la Kingston/Plymouth. Danvers must be run by a bunch of BINBY's (Build It In the Neighbors' Back Yard) these days, because they then said out the other side of their mouths that they backed CR in Peabody Sq. in support of
maxing their trail and bus usage.
to North Shore Mall wholly within town of Peabody is the only one held open. Peabody started pushing the phasing option aggressively after Danvers dropped out since it was no longer a matter of debate where Phase II would go after Peabody Sq. or who would get it first. That's where all their advocacy is going. And when downtown flooded last year and the subject came up of improving flood control/prevention infrastructure in downtown they pushed the angle that the rail line repairs should be factored into that as 'critical' infrastructure. They want to stick this with as much glue possible to the inevitable freight repairs and all the stormwater mitigation/improvements work downtown badly needs, and try to get an extra-base hit with it for Peabody Sq. CR. Then make the second leg a deferred but inevitable step.
Strategically, that's about the most compelling pitch they can make with almost no leverage. The T can't totally pass up expansion opportunities. As I mentioned, to make the political case for fed funding on "unsexy" improvements there almost always has to be one shiny new thing in the sales pitch. And transit authorities are not the kinds of simple beasts that can single-task their finances: "we're not spending a penny until the debt's paid down", "only state-of-good-repair and not one penny for new builds", etc. There has to be some measured pursuit of forward growth amidst all that--and in proper proportion
--or stagnation sets in and the negative feedback loop on ridership gets worse. Ask SEPTA Regional Rail how its 30 years of perpetual austerity worked out for them.
So every time there's another town meeting about South Coast FAIL glossing over the latest complications, umpteenth re-design, lowered ridership projections, and ridiculous demands from towns in no position to be making those demands...Peabody trots out "but for $38M you can have this, and the train traffic through town isn't 'theoretical' and scary to us.". And every time those epic garage disasters in Salem and Beverly get hit with another overrun and downsizing, they trot out "we don't want lots of parking...it's a downtown bus transfer, not a park-and-ride." And every time the cost projection shoots up on some expensive TOD pet project, they point to PAR switching out Eastman the second time in a week and say, "our downtown 'multimodal' doesn't need a big station development to grow more than it is." And every time they talk about initiating a study on something new that Tim Murray blurted in front of a microphone last week, "You already scoped this one in the North Shore study at considerable expense and it was a high-priority rec...hows about implementing at least one thing you know for sure before paying out another study for a Worcester-Foxboro casino train?" And so on.
No, "that project is more wasteful than mine" is not in and of itself a winning argument. They'll have to evolve it with a much stronger case for why it's not going to bloat its cost vs. X, Y, Z other projects. But as long as the T is getting raked over for their political lard protection racket on projects they're going to be exposed on this by any party that makes a bang-for-buck counterpoint vs. a list of very messed-up spending priorities. Peabody's signaled they're ready to do that till they're blue in the face. If it's not clear by now after weeks of town-by-town meetings, the agency and Beacon Hill are gonna have to come up with a lot better than a blanket answer for what they think is worth spending money on. Bless 'em if Peabody sees an opportunity here to help themselves, but build or no build they're asking one of the tougher questions that needs to be asked in legislative hearings: "Which of your constituents are worthy of spending money on?" It's clear some
of them are more than others, and the reasons have little to do with who needs it most or what's most cost-effective.