The South Shore Chamber of Commerce, (www.southshorechamber.org) the region’s largest chamber, has published a report, “Infrastructure Priorities for a Stronger Regional Economy.” This report, which addresses concerns and provides recommendations for the South Shore and beyond, is part of the Chamber’s overall initiative, which is examining key issues relating to growth and development of the South Shore.
Copies of the Chamber’s report and findings are being sent to key business and community leaders and the report is also available for viewing on the Chamber’s website, www.southshorechamber.org.
Peter Forman, President and CEO of the South Shore Chamber, said, “Infrastructure concerns are not new to the region, but it is critical to have clearly-defined priorities when advocating for infrastructure projects; it is also essential to be able to connect those priorities to other important goals such as housing, economic development or to building stronger communities.” He added, “As a regional Chamber of Commerce we serve a valuable role in helping state and federal officials understand those connections, and perhaps accelerate funding for projects in our area.”
Because infrastructure spending and private economic development go hand in hand, Forman noted that the Chamber has identified infrastructure projects which will have the broadest impact on the region. He noted that, “Since the Chamber does not represent any single community or any single private interest, we believe we are in a strong position to show the best opportunities for the region.”
• Key Recommendations include;
• Improve the commute to Boston
• Encourage more transit-oriented developments
• Leverage the transit-oriented housing into broader commercial and economic activity
• Recognize the importance of regional suburban smart growth
• Recognize the strength of the region is driven by the strength of our communities
• Recognize that future growth can be stimulated by growth outside of our own region
Recommended priorities for the Boston commute include increased capacity, repair, and re-construction of Mass transit service parking garages. T Stations need upgrades and the Chamber believes relatively easy and inexpensive steps can be taken to improve the stations while state officials should provide reliability of service. The report also recommends an expansion of South Station to increase the number of tracks needed to increase trains to the South Shore.
There are also several possible highway projects that require further study. One involves widening Route 3; options include traditional state funding and a Public/Private Partnership, which might be a voluntarily tolling through a new lane. Another possibility is improving “The Split” at Braintree/Quincy to eliminate some local bottlenecks. The Chamber believes that the existing and potential Transit-Oriented Developments offer the best opportunity to promote new housing growth that will appeal to younger workers and provide some relief to the very expensive Boston housing market. In addition these developments are powerful drivers for growth and they continue to support the following:
• Opening the connections between Union Point (formerly SouthField) and Union Street in Rockland
• Widening of Route 18
• Improvements to Reservoir Park Drive and Hingham Street in Rockland
• Possible short-distance parallel or access roads between Exits 13 and 16.
The report includes recommendation for the future or energy, water/wastewater, tourism and community development for the region.
“We believe our report sets some priorities for today,” Forman said, adding, “The South Shore Chamber has a long history of prioritizing and advocating for the infrastructure projects that have the greatest benefit for the region.
“The South Shore, by definition, is not part of Boston, but our economic life is heavily influenced by it,” states the report. “Our development strategies and transportation priorities are closely tied to Boston’s future growth.”
About the South Shore Chamber of Commerce
The South Shore Chamber of Commerce has long been recognized throughout the state as one of the most active and forceful advocates for the business community and numbers among the larger Chambers of Commerce nationally. The South Shore Chamber is a not-for-profit association of businesses in the communities south of Boston. It is committed to helping its members grow their businesses and to improve the business climate in the region. Members range in size from major international corporations headquartered on the South Shore to small local firms and sole proprietorships. For additional information on the Chamber, please visit www.southshorechamber.org or call 781-421-3900.