On Friday, June 20, stakeholders met at the Ayer Town Hall to discuss issues as they relate to commuter access at the Ayer stop on the MBTA Rail Line.
Those attending were Selectman Chris Hillman; Town Administrator Robert A. Pontbriand; assistant to the Town Administrator Carly Antonellis; Economic Development Director Dave Maher; Sen. James Eldridge; Rep. Jen Benson; Rep. Sheila Harrington; staff representatives from Sen. Warren's office, Sen. Markey's office and U.S. Rep. Tsongas' office, Kristin Wood from the Federal Transit Administration; several representatives from the MBTA; Mo Khan and Bruno Fisher from MART; George Kahale from MRPC; MJTC representatives Pauline Hamel and Peter Johnston; MPO representative Frank Maxant.
Mark Boyle from the MBTA advised that within the next several weeks, the MBTA is expecting a proposal from the property owner. The MBTA, at the request of the town, has ensured the town the resolution to the access issue will meet the federal and state requirements for the Ayer Commuter Rail Surface Parking Lot project.
Ayer Selectman Chris Hillman and state Sen. Jamie Eldridge said that on June 17, the Board of Selectmen authorized formation of a citizen's advisory group to interface between all entities involved and the public/commuters in terms of keeping them informed.
Tsongas' office, MART and the FTA have confirmed that the $3.2 million project earmark is in no jeopardy of expiring. Additionally, the $800,000 matching funds are also secure.
The meeting was the first time that all stakeholders reaffirmed the importance of this project to the transportation and economic development, of not only Ayer but the entire region.