Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) Director Michael P. Lewis and transportation leaders of the other five New England states gathered Thursday, November 12, 2009 in Newington, Connecticut to advance the goal of regional transportation. Coordination by this group would achieve the mutual goal of enhancing northeast regional transit and other transportation opportunities.
The day-long meeting focused on rail and other policy issues and initiatives. The session was a follow-up to an August meeting of the Northeast Association of State Transportation Officials (NASTO). At that meeting, a plan for the region covering high-speed commuter rail and freight was developed.
“Our transportation challenges and opportunities are becoming increasingly regional,” said Lewis. “By committing to a partner with the other New England states we have a greater opportunity to advance the transportation objectives of the region as well as each individual state.”
All six New England states have submitted grant applications under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for high-speed commuter rail funding for the region. Those in attendance at last week’s meeting expressed cautious optimism about the chances of success with these applications considering the competitive nature of the program. Grant applicants should learn their status in early 2010.
The group also pledged to continue their discussion and work with all members of the New England congressional delegations to secure passage of a federal transportation funding bill.
Maine will host the next meeting in February 2010 in Portland.
Contact: Dana Alexander Nolfe 401-222-1362 x4450