ProJo: My Turn: Joseph Shekarchi: Commuter rail a sound R.I. investment

The fact that Boston is on the “short list” for the new Amazon headquarters raises a question for Rhode Island: how can we benefit if the company does land an hour north of us?

The state House of Representatives and I have long been thinking about how to take advantage of the economic opportunities Boston presents for Rhode Island. The best place to start is to ask: “What do people who work in Boston need that Rhode Island can provide — maybe even better than Boston can?”

One smart answer is housing. The majority of families in Boston and its suburbs struggle to afford housing that meets their needs. By investing more in housing (we're currently dead last in New England by a wide margin on a per capita basis) with a focus on the forgotten middle class, we can help meet the demand of working families that Boston and its suburbs currently cannot.

As a Warwick resident with friends who catch the train from T.F. Green Airport every morning, I see a more robust commuter rail system as another opportunity for Rhode Island. Already, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation has laid the groundwork for an improved system through a small annual investment of just over $6 million, largely funded through federal grants, which already serves 91,000 people per year.

To view the complete article, visit Providence Journal

Courtesy of Providence Journal

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