Knowledge Corridor Revitalization Project Means New Jobs and Economic Growth for New England

Posted by erik devaney

Massachusetts Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray and Congressman John Olver recently announced plans to revitalize New England’s Knowledge Corridor. The project, which is being funded through $73 million in federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) grants, promises to create more than 360 construction jobs in the region.

The Knowledge Corridor refers to the areas surrounding Springfield, Massachusetts and Hartford, Connecticut. These two major New England cities, which are just 25 miles apart, share a river (the Connecticut), an interstate highway (91) and an airport (Bradley International). The “Knowledge” portion of the corridor’s name is a reference to the 29 colleges and universities — and 100,000-plus students — located in the region.

Back in June, MassDOT signed an agreement with Federal Railroad Administration to proceed with the Knowledge Corridor project. The project will revitalize the existing Connecticut River rail line, which runs from Connecticut through Massachusetts and up to Vermont. As a result of the project, Amtrak’s Vermonter train service will be restored to the line, providing better access to the cities of Greenfield and Northampton and allowing for a more direct travel route between St. Albans, Vermont and Washington, DC.

“The Knowledge Corridor project is a signature investment in Massachusetts, creating hundreds of jobs while making historic improvements in rail access across the Pioneer Valley,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “We appreciate the support from President Obama and the advocacy of Congressman Olver and the entire congressional delegation for making this vision a reality.”

Michael Graney, a spokesperson for the Economic Development Council (EDC) of Western Massachusetts, told New England Post that the EDC “formally supports and formally endorses” the Knowledge Corridor revitalization project. The EDC represents the private sector and economic development in the region.

“We’ve been staunch supporters of rail enhancement,” said Graney. “It’s sort of a bread and butter issue for us. Jobs and private investment come first for us; but very, very close behind is infrastructure.”

According to Graney, one of the overlooked aspects of the project is the positive impact it will have on commercial distribution opportunities in Western Massachusetts.

“The sexier part of it is the passenger rail,” Graney told New England Post. “But the more significant part is the freight rail.” As Granted stated, revitalizing the Connecticut River rail line will be advantageous for both importers and exporters of goods and “will make the region more competitive.”

Tim Brennan, Executive Director of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, told New England post that the project will be “nothing short of a game changer and an extraordinarily positive one for the Massachusetts communities stretching from Springfield north to the Vermont border.”

“It will bring a new, modern, 21st century mobility option to upwards of 700,000 residents,” Brennan continued, “while simultaneously generating hundreds of jobs along with an engine of sustained economic development opportunities that greatly enhances the economic vitality, growth and competitiveness of New England’s three state Knowledge Corridor and its emerging innovations heartland.”

The improvements to the Knowledge Corridor – set to begin in 2012 – will occur on the Connecticut River mainline of the Pan Am Southern railroad. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Design and Construction Department will oversee the implementation of the project.

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  2. Conn. Jobs Bill Includes $180 Million for Small Businesses
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  4. Governor Patrick Highlights Impact Of American Jobs Act On Massachusetts Bridges
  5. The Funeral for American Jobs: Unemployed Workers Gather to Mourn the ‘Death’ of the Jobs Act at Mass. GOP Headquarters

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Posted by erik devaney on Oct 21 2011. Filed under Featured - For home page featured article. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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