When you break ground on a rail link that will connect a community to Rhode Island's busiest airport and also to New England's two largest cities, that's good news. And when you create jobs in the process, that's good news.
Well that's exactly what happened in North Kingstown, Rhode Island, last Wednesday when Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff joined RI Gov. Donald L. Carcieri and US Senator Jack Reed to help break ground on the new Wickford Junction commuter rail station.
Supported in part by $4.4 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the station will connect area residents with the Warwick Intermodal Station at T. F. Green International Airport to the north and then to Providence and Boston. Trains from the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority are expected to start pulling into the station next year.
"The Recovery Act is moving projects like this one from plans on the shelf to shovels in the ground," said Administrator Rogoff. "It's creating jobs now—precisely when we need them."
In addition to the construction jobs, this station also means better access to employment opportunities in the two largest cities in New England once the project is complete. Then there's all the activity the station itself will attract.
Senator Reed agrees that the new station will spur growth: "A good transportation system is usually the backbone of development in any place. This will be a focal point for economic development.”
Transportation officials have estimated the line will serve about 1,700 passengers a day, with 80% of them boarding at Wickford. The Rhode Island DOT said if ridership reaches that number, they don't expect any costs to the state.
Jobs now, jobs in the future. Self-sustaining, and a green alternative to I-95. That's good news.