Over the past few months there has been a lot of excitement about bringing a rail service to Berkshire County that connects to Grand Central Station in New York city. But most of this excitement has died down as there has been no publicly made announcement on the advancement of this project since July 29.
A rail service that would connect New York City to Pittsfield would allow families from the Berkshires to take a day trip to the Big Apple while also allowing people from the city to venture out to the beautiful Berkshires and take part in activities such as hiking Mount Greylock, viewing the brilliant fall foliage or visiting Mass MoCA to see the contemporary art.
Having a rail service that connects Berkshire County to New York city, would not only increase the amount of tourism in our county, but would also make a huge positive impact on our economy.
Increasing the tourism in our county would lead to more jobs being created. Berkshire County is currently struggling to create jobs as more and more companies are beginning to pack up their businesses and move to new locations.
This is becoming very noticeable as the job growth rate in Berkshire County is currently at -0.69 percent while the national job growth rate is 0.35 percent.
A rail service would not only create jobs and increase our economic output by $344 million, according to Stephen Sheppard, an economist at Williams College, but it will also make the local businesses operating in Berkshire County much stronger and stable.
Jonathan Prince, of Southfield, agrees with Sheppard by saying "It is almost an impossible task to get my clients from New York to come up to my business. ... Having a train would create business opportunities for me and everyone else with a small business in the Berkshires."
Just take a look at Amenia, N.Y., a rural community who opened Wassaic train station in July, 2000. The station made it easier for local residents to commute to New York City for their daily jobs while providing city residents the opportunity to travel to northern New York to enjoy the experience of wineries, bicycle riding on nature trails and local country restaurants that you won't find in the big city. The Wassaic train station proves that projects like this are beneficial to smaller communities and help to increase a community's economy by connecting it to a city like New York.
The time is now to push for a rail service that connects Berkshire County with New York City.