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A Hummel Report Investigation

Into The Homestretch

It is officially called Segment 1A of the Blackstone Valley Bikeway, but the locals will likely call it the Gano Street section of a path that will eventually stretch north to the Massachusetts state line Worcester and south to Bristol.
The ¾ mile path starts at the base of the Gano Street exit off Route 195 and runs along the Seekonk River to Pitman Street, with the easiest access at the Trenton Street boat ramp. The $2.5 million project was 100 percent federally funded. The DOT completed the project in 12 months, on time and on budget.
Opponents of a proposed Amtrak rail line that would run through some prime sections of Charlestown got good news in July when the feds announced they had a change of heart and were not going to build the bypass after all.
The proposed bypass was part of a long range plan by Amtrak to try and shorten the train route that runs The Northeast Corridor from New York to Boston. The proposal called for jog north of Old Saybrook and East Lyme that eventually would chew through farm and conservation land like this in Charlestown.
Local leaders in both Connecticut and Rhode Island mounted strong opposition - arguing that the bypass wouldn’t save any time. The Federal Rail Administration made no comment, simply releasing a revised plan in July without the proposed bypass included.
Finally, if you’re a customer of the Narragansett Bay Commission you already have seen your rates triple over the past decade. Now the commission is a facing a $5 million grab out of its reserve fund by the General Assembly, trying to plug its own hole in the budget.
Facing a more than $100 budget deficit the General Assembly last spring raided the reserve funds of several quasi-public agencies like the Narragansett Bay Commission.
Ratepayers have gotten sticker shock as they’ve footed the bill for millions of dollars of improvements to the water quality of the bay - resulting in the cleanest water in more than a century.
A Commission spokeswoman tells us the NBC it will likely use some restricted funds and does not anticipate having to raise rates to cover the $5 million legislative scoop. But if first needs permission from the state Public Utilities Commission to transfer the those funds.
So what will be the big stories as we round out 2017? Well part of that answer depends on you. If you have a story suggestion or tip you’d like to pass along, please email me - directly and confidentially - at Jim@HummelReport.org.

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