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Ten Massachusetts lawmakers are calling on the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to purchase Pan Am Railways' assets and freight rights along the Route 2 Rail Corridor to secure the area for future passenger-rail service.
In a letter to MassDOT Secretary Stephanie Pollack, the lawmakers noted that under Massachusetts law, the state has the first right of refusal in the sale of any railroad right of way or related facilities within the state. The lawmakers encouraged Pollack to take action in relation to the potential sale of Pan Am Railways.
The sale of Pan Am's assets and freight rights, in particular along the Route 2 Rail Corridor, "presents a significant opportunity for the commonwealth to make a critical investment in our transportation infrastructure by retaining the use of an important rail corridor and securing Massachusetts' northern tier for future passenger service," the letter states.
The lawmakers proposed that the state indicate strong interest in securing passenger rights between North Adams and Fitchburg. They also requested the state consider purchasing all or part of the rail corridor, at a minimum, from Fitchburg to Greenfield.
"We are mindful that MassDOT already owns the freight yard in Deerfield along this corridor that is, we believe, used exclusively by Pan Am," they wrote.
Pan Am's potential sale "has sparked great interest from our constituents," lawmakers also noted. Investing in the existing rail infrastructure would benefit the state's local communities, businesses, the economy and climate emissions goals, they said.
The full letter can be read here.