Digest: Legislators urge Massachusetts to buy line from Pan Am

News Wire Digest for Sept. 23: Builders of Maryland's Purple Line stop work, prepare to quit; MTA to consider rule against defecation on trains
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Wednesday morning rail news:

Legislators urge Massachusetts to buy Pan Am line for future passenger use
A group of state legislators has urged Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack to exercise the state’s right of first refusal and purchase a Pan Am Railways route for future passenger service. MassLive.com reports the state has that right of first refusal for any railroad property in Massachusetts, and the six legislators are urging its use to purchase a line from Fitchburg, Mass., to North Adams, Mass., known as the Route 2 Rail Corridor or Northern Tier Rail. Pan Am has been for sale since earlier this year [see “New England’s Pan Am Railways for sale,” Trains News Wire, June 29, 2020.]

Purple Line work stops as builders prepare to quit
Construction on Maryland’s Purple Line has stopped as the consortium building the 16-mile light rail project prepare to quit the job, the Washington Post reports. The workers that remain are securing the construction sites. A spokeswoman for the Purple Line Transit Constructors said the group will release a schedule for departure in the next couple of weeks. Maryland officials say they are still trying to negotiate a settlement over the $800 million in unpaid cost overruns that led the construction group to quit — a move allowed by a state court ruling last month [see “Digest: Judge rules builders can quit Maryland Purple Line project,” Sept. 11, 2020].

New York MTA to consider rule banning defecation on subways and buses
While it may seem obvious that it is not permitted behavior, New York’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority is set to enact a rule explicitly banning defecation on subways and buses. The New York Daily News reports the rule is on the agency for an MTA meeting today. Rules currently mandate a $100 fine for passengers who “create a nuisance, hazard, or unsanitary condition (including, but not limited to, spitting or urinating).” A local union official told the newspaper that the rule “says a lot about the environment we work in … A rule is nice. A more visible police presence on platforms and trains would be even better.”

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