Posted on Monday, January 11 2010 by Heather Brandon
According to the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority, the agency is no longer handling the major redevelopment effort of Springfield’s Union Station. Instead, the Springfield Redevelopment Authority will be in charge of making the project happen. The PVTA so far had been on the verge of hiring a project manager, as requests for qualifications had already gone out to bid, but it has been stopped in its tracks.
Some say the reasons are political.
On the surface, the reason is this: transit is no longer the number one priority for the redevelopment effort. Instead, the priority is economic development, with transit coming in second.
Put another way, the priority for this transportation development project is no longer, in a word, transportation. Perhaps instead the aim is being able to channel the large amounts of federal funding, with transit a distant consideration. Instead the project’s main priority will be labeled “economic development.” Transit is ostensibly now a second tier priority.
The two priorities could go hand in hand, and moving the project forward could be regarded as more important than such labels at this stage of things. It seems a shame and a show of unnecessary disregard to oust the PVTA from leadership of the project in addition to demoting transit in significance. What did transit ever do to the SRA?
Last year, the PVTA and SRA were able to negotiate a memorandum of understanding (PDF) outlining how they would work together to make Union Station an intermodal reality. Today the PVTA confirmed that the memorandum is now null and void. An announcement is scheduled for Wednesday at noon by PVTA administrator Mary MacInnes on the change in priorities.