U.S. Rep. Moulton Calls for Improved Commuter Rail; ‘Bad Traffic’ Holding Region Back

6th District Congressman Seth Moulton. (WHAV News photograph.)

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Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce President Joseph J. Bevilacqua. (WHAV News photograph.)

The Merrimack Valley Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee held a Congressional Breakfast Forum in Andover on Monday. The group’s president, Haverhill City Councilor Joseph J. Bevilacqua introduced the featured speakers for the event, 6th District Congressman Seth Moulton and 3rd District Congresswoman Lori Trahan.

The two spoke about issues that they believe effect local businesses. Moulton spoke first about the need for improved commuter rail systems.

“For all the different ways that Massachusetts leads the nation, the number one thing that is holding our region and your businesses back is the fact that we lead the nation in bad traffic. If we are going to out compete other cities in America for new jobs, we have to reimagine our communities and our commutes,” Moulton said.

Moulton said the answer is improved regional rail trains. He said studies have shown that commuting by rail is ultimately less expensive than traveling by auto, but he agreed that the current system is sorely lacking in speed, reliability and comfort. He said he believes a strong rail alternative would eliminate traffic congestion and ultimately transform our communities in a positive way.

The congressman also discussed the need to improve gas pipeline safety and pointed to a bill that he and Rep. Trahan co-introduced called the Leonel Rondon Pipeline Safety Act, named for the Lawrence teenager killed in last year’s Columbia Gas explosions.  Moulton said the bill would close loopholes that allowed Columbia Gas to cut corners and avoid liability.

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