LETTER: EAST-WEST PASSENGER RAIL WOULD CONTRIBUTE TO A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE

Amtrak Acela at South Station, Boston. Photo: commons.wikimedia. org

This spot on our planet, near the crossroads of a long tidal river
whose valley invites north-south travel, and an east-west path to the
shores of a salty bay, has been a destination for migrating mammals
since long before humans first stood here millennia ago overlooking a
fertile alluvial plain, the bed of a former glacial lake.   On hoof or
on foot, by sledge or by sled, in cart or canoe, and more recently by
rail and by road, they came and they went, farmers and poets and
students and scholars, to this spot we now call Amherst.

So is there any surprise folks want to “Make Amherst a Destination
Again”?  No “MADA” hats for sale yet, but plenty of plans for more
parking….

Whoa?  What?

Any hope for a sustainable future – for Amherst, for Massachusetts,
for America, for our planet – requires an alternative plan, like those
in the East-West Passenger Rail Study

                 https://www.mass.gov/east-west-passenger-rail-study

about which the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT)
invites us to a

                 Public Meeting on the East-West Passenger Rail Study
                 Wednesday, February 12, 2020 from 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM
                 UMass Center at Springfield, Classroom 014
                 Tower Square, 1500 Main Street, Springfield, MA

There are a half-dozen alternatives proposed for restoring medium to
high-speed passenger rail between Boston and Springfield – some
continuing on to Pittsfield, some stopping in Palmer, where a
passenger rail-shuttle to and from Amherst could easily connect,
making a car-free, hassle-free train trip from this spot on our planet
to Boston’s South Station in under 2 hours possible.

Please study the East-West Passenger Rail plans, come to the meeting
(please carpool if you can), and help “Make Amherst a Destination
Again” the sustainable way!

Rob Kusner

Rob Kusner is Professor of Mathematics at UMass, a former Amherst Select Board member, and a founder of Norwottuck Network (a 501c3 non-profit supporting rail-trails across  Massachusetts).

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