Continuing the cooperation between New England states to address regional transportation issues, Governor Paul Cellucci and Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Almond inaugurated expanded commuter rail service between Boston and Providence. The expanded service is part of the Pilgrim Partnership, an agreement between the two states to expand and improve regional transportation and is a key component of the Commonwealth's regional transportation plan. Connections between Boston and Providence will be improved with eight daily commuter rail trips and service will be extended to T.F. Green Airport.
"I'd like to thank Governor Almond who has been a real team player and leader in this regional effort," said Cellucci. "This additional service to Providence will provide a better link between our two state capitals. The future service to T.F. Green Airport fits in well with our strategy of encouraging the use of regional airports."
The Pilgrim Partnership agreement also allows for MBTA service to be extended to the planned station at T.F. Green Airport, providing Massachusetts residents with a direct connection to the airport. Last year, more than 5 million travelers used T.F. Green. One of every two passengers flying out of T.F. Green lives in Massachusetts.
"Everything we do to make the regional airports more visible and more accessible has a direct benefit for Logan Airport and its neighbors," said Massport Executive Director and CEO Virginia Buckingham. "The improved commuter rail connection means that more people have a convenient alternative to Logan. Every person who rides the train to Rhode Island and flies out of T.F. Green is one less person driving to and flying out of Logan."
Cellucci has been at the forefront of the regionalization effort and has worked to revitalize New England's regional airports, especially Worcester Regional Airport. Last year, Cellucci convened the first New England Governors Summit on Regional Transportation where the governors agreed to improve access between their state's airports and to develop a program to jointly market the regional airports.
Since the summit, the New England airports have jointly participated in trade shows and a "Fly New England" regional airport web site is in development. In addition, Massport has also invested $80,000 to advertise the benefits of regional airports. The print ad campaign is aimed at encouraging travelers to use Manchester, T.F. Green, Bradley and Worcester Airports. Massport has spent an additional $150,000 on promoting Worcester Regional Airport.