I’m just back from China where I took the high-speed train from Shanghai to Beijing, and am writing to ask for you to help raise the profile of the Housatonic passenger rail line with the US Secretary of Transportation and our state legislators. Federal funding could play a huge role in moving the project forward, and the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission (BRPC) has submitted a TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant application for $11.2 million, with Massachusetts providing a $3.0 million match.

The BRPC has taken the lead, partnering with Northwest Connecticut Council of Governments, with the support of MassDOT, ConnDOT, and HRRCo in late May to completely renovate the tracks in Canaan, CT and make significant improvements in the tracks in Massachusetts, focused on Sheffield.

TIGER grants are highly competitive, designed to fund capital investments in surface transportation infrastructure that will have a significant impact on the nation, a region, or metropolitan area.

Our project matches the TIGER grant criteria perfectly. I know that many of you will be eloquent in explaining how restored passenger rail from Grand Central to NWCT and the Berkshires will “generate economic development and improve access to reliable, safe and affordable transportation for disconnected communities both urban and rural, while emphasizing improved connection to employment, education, services and other opportunities, workforce development, or community revitalization.”  Read more at: http://www.transportation.gov/tiger. Massachusetts has committed $3.0 million the MassDOT Draft Capital Investment Plan for Fiscal Year 2016 for the Berkshire Line (that is the match for the TIGER grant but will be spent regardless of whether the TIGER grant is successful or not).

Please send letters of support to U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx and also encourage Senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, Congressman Richard Neal, Governor Dannel Malloy, Governor Charlie Baker, and MassDOT Secretary Stephanie Pollack to push for this funding. We’re also running a Twitter campaign so if you use Twitter, please follow @BerkshireTrains and tweet with us!

Here are the key people to write to:

Secretary Anthony Foxx
US Department of Transportation
1200 New Jersey Ave, SE
Washington, DC 20590
Email via this page: https://ntl.custhelp.com/app/ask – okay to attach documents, too
Twitter @SecretaryFoxx

Governor Charlie Baker
The State House
24 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 01233

Secretary Stephanie Pollack
10 Park Plaza, Suite 4160
Boston, MA 02116
(617) 373-8341
Email stephanie.pollack@state.ma.us

Governor Dannel Malloy
The State Capitol
210 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106
(860) 566-4840
Email malloy.office@ct.gov 
Twitter @DanMalloyCT

More Twitter handles

@MassGovernor Charlie Baker,
@Steph_Pollack MA Secretary of Transportation
@MassLtGov Karyn Polito

We’ll be updating contact information and adding sample letters at www.TrainCampaign.org.

Warm regards, Karen Christensen.