WSAR News talked with Bristol Eighth District State Representative Paul Schmid about the future of South Coast Rail and the greater problem of a lack of public transportation here in the local area.
Rep. Schmid reiterated multiple times he is concerned about the price tag on the various mechanical issue fixes to the T in Boston, estimated between $10-15 million and how that impacts the South Coast.
He said it’s important to make sure money does not get lost on us because of the project sixty miles north.
"We all know funding that will take money away from the transportation investment we need down here,” the Bristol representative said. “We're pretty certain the South Coast Rail is being adequately funded and will begin in 2022. That's not the only one of our transportation needs down here though."
Schmid added that its magnified by lack of a regional bus service in the area modeling the same hours available as in Boston. The eighth district representative told WSAR the limited operation of hours the bus service offers constricts economic development.
“The bus service stops at 6 p.m. and not in service on Sundays,” he said. “How can we hope to get our young people working if they can't get to work for a night shift or on a Sunday?"
In Fall River, the bus routes to B.C.C, Swansea and a few other key locations end at 9 p.m. on weeknights and after 6:30 p.m. on Saturdays. Currently, there is an experimental service implemented earlier in the year adding hours to the Stafford Road route and another one in New Bedford.
"We need more public transportation here on the South Coast,” Rep. Schmid said. “When we start hearing the numbers about what it's going to cost to fix the T, I worry about what's going to be left for us down here. We're going to keep fighting on that front - we have to."
A version of South Coast Rail is planned to start in 2022.