Monday, October 28, 2019


Adds Funds in New Senate Supplemental Budget Bill 

Boston- Wilmington officials, long concerned about public safety impacts of MBTA commuter trains impeding traffic on Route 62, received substantial financial support in the form of the State Senate’s new supplemental budget bill through an amendment championed by Wilmington’s Senator Bruce Tarr.

Tarr, who offered the $180,000 amendment to Senate Bill 2378, the so-called Closeout Supplemental Budget for Fiscal Year 2019, comes at a time when he and Representative David Robertson (D- Tewksbury) and Representative Ken Gordon (D- Bedford) are continuing to work with town officials and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the state agency responsible for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority Commuter Rail system, for a number of years to identify and further develop both short and long-term solutions to the problems that persist at the station.

The problems at the depot, located adjacent to Route 62, are twofold; the current platform to facilitate access to trains does not properly accommodate passengers with physical challenges and that, in turn, causes the train to stoop across the roadway

“We are all working together to find and implement the best solutions for the problems that we face at the North Wilmington train station,” said Senator Tarr. “That collaboration includes the legislative delegation, the police and fire departments, the Town manager and Selectmen, as well as MBTA officials.”

Tarr added “there are solutions in sight, but they depend upon the availability of resources. This funding from the supplemental budget presents and important step in putting significant resources on the table.”

"This train station is a huge burden to Wilmington's traffic and public safety. Working with Senator Tarr, Representative Gordon, the Selectboard and town we've come a long way on what the station will look like, how it will be moved, and possible future parking expansion" said Representative Robertson. "Now, thanks to Senator Tarr's concerted efforts, we have a financial jumping off point that we in the House can support and complement to solve this issue once and for all." Language now added to the Senate’s bill directs $180,000 in state funds “for the planning, design and construction of a handicap accessible platform at the North Wilmington Commuter Rail facility,” this is in addition to the $1 million authorization in the latest economic development bond bill that Tarr added last year.

“I am delighted that the Legislature is addressing this serious concern so that everyone in Wilmington can access public transportation,” said Representative Ken Gordon. Tarr, at a board meeting of the Selectmen following an incident at the station which delayed first responders, called the impediment of emergency response professionals “an absolutely unacceptable situation” and explained that he would continue to work with town and state officials to “ensure that the configuration of the train station would be such that it would now be conducive to getting the train out of the road when it stops.”

Wilmington’s Police and Fire Department vehicles, and those of other emergency responders, are frequently snared in traffic backups at the station and are impeded in responding to emergencies.

Senator Tarr’s amendment provides $180,000 to aid in changes to the platform for those with disability access concerns, which will also aid in altering the location of the locomotive and it’s cars.

The MBTA's Haverhill line makes multiple daily stops, each taking between 1 and 2 minutes, at the North Wilmington depot. These stops trigger the railway safety gates intended to stop traffic in both directions.

Senator Tarr arranged several meetings between the MBTA, Keolis, the company contracted to operate the commuter rail system, and local officials.

“Now we have to work as a team to keep funding for the train station in the final version of the budget that goes to the desk of Governor Charlie Baker,” Tarr said.

Funds for the depot will be released once a final agreement on the budget bill is reached between the House and Senate. Governor Charlie Baker will have a ten day period to sign the bill. Tarr said Wilmington’s delegation in the House of Representatives will play an important role in that process.