Local and Regional Officials Update South Coast Rail Priority Map
Officials said few priority areas have changed over the last five years.
Local and regional officials are in the process of updating a map created five years ago identifying priority areas for the development of the South Coast Rail.
Easton's map, which Town Planner Gary Anderson said hasn't changed much in the last five years, highlights priority development areas and priority protection areas.
"For our first run through, we didn’t see very much [to update]," Anderson told Selectmen last week. "We have some changes, but five years isn’t a lot of time."
Anderson and the Old Colony Planning Council's Eric Arbeene told Selectmen a public meeting would be advertised soon to discuss the map.
As part of an executive order signed by Gov. Deval Patrick in 2010, each of the communities affected by a potential train connecting Boston to Fall River and New Bedford must update the priority map.
Priority Development Areas include "areas that are appropriate for increased development or redevelopment due to several factors including good transportation access, available infrastructure (primarily water and sewer), an absence of environmental constraints, and local support," according to a press release issued by the Old Colony Planning Council.
Priority Protection Areas include "areas that are important to protect due to the presence of significant natural and cultural resources including endangered species habitats, areas critical to water supply, scenic vistas, and farms," according to the release.
Easton's map, seen above, includes development areas such as Route 138, North Easton Village and Roche Brother's Plaza. Protection Areas include Easton's conservation land and the Hockomock Swamp.
Last week, Patrick filed a transportation bond bill that will finance an ambitious 10-year plan to overhaul the state’s ailing transportation system. The bond bill included $4.4 billion towards "Regional Rail Projects," including the South Coast Rail.