Digest: Massachusetts governor signs transportation bill, vetoes call for full MBTA service

News Wire Digest for Jan. 18: Virginia near agreement with NS for extended Amtrak service; Jackson, Mich., sells long-displayed locomotive for use on Pennsylvania tourist line
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Monday morning rail news:

Massachusetts governor signs transportation bond bill, blocks legislation requiring MBTA to reverse service cuts

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker has signed a $16.5 billion transportation bond bill while vetoing specific elements of the legislation, and has vetoed a bill which would have required the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority to use its federal stimulus funds to reverse planned service cuts and restore capital spending. State House News Service reports elements of the bond bill vetoed by Baker include one that would have required the MBTA to launch a low-income fare program, saying further study was needed. Portions of the bill signed by Baker include several major MBTA capital projects [see “Digest: Massachusetts bill funding major MBTA projects …,” Trains News Wire, Jan. 7, 2021]. In vetoing the bill requiring full restoration of MBTA service, Baker said it would be “bad public policy” to operate on pre-pandemic schedules with ridership only at a quarter to a third of normal levels.

Virginia official says state is close to agreement with Norfolk Southern for more Amtrak service
The state of Virginia is close to an agreement with Norfolk Southern that would allow Amtrak service to be extended from Roanoke to Bristol, Va., according to the state’s transportation secretary. WDBJ-TV reports that Transportation Secretary Shannon Valentine told the state’s House Appropriations Committee that “we have never been as close as we are to getting this accomplished.” Last month, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam included $50 million in his proposal for the state’s two-year budget for the service to the New River Valley region, which would serve Virginia Tech and Radford universities, among other customers [see “Digest: CN announces partnership …,” Trains News Wire, Dec. 16, 2020].

Jackson, Mich, sells locomotive for restoration, use on Pennsylvania's Colebrookdale Railroad
The Jackson, Mich., city council has voted to sell former Grand Trunk Western 4-6-2 No. 5030, which has been on display in North Lawn Park for more than 60 years, to the Colebrookdale Railroad Preservation Trust in Pennsylvania. MLive.com reports the trust will pay $50,000 over five years for the locomotive. The 1912 Montreal Locomotive Works engine, a light Pacific, was donated to the city in 1957. It has been on display since, but city officials acknowledge they do not have the funds to continue to maintain the locomotive. The Colebrookdale Railroad, a 9-mile operation in Boyertown, Pa., has been seeking a steam locomotive for its tourist operation. It is themed around the early part of the 20th century. Colebrookdale will transport the locomotive to Pennsylvania for overhaul; the move and overhaul may cost $2 million. — Wayne Laepple

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