Governor Deval Patrick today announced that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) will support annual seasonal rail service to the Cape via Cape Flyer and also announced a $36 million investment in Cape Cod Community College to help fund a new science building on campus. Both investments will bring growth and opportunity to the region by creating reliable summer rail service for residents and tourists alike, and better preparing students for success in the 21st century global economy. Governor Patrick made today's announcements while speaking to the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce in Hyannis.
"Growth requires investment, and investments in our community college campuses and our transportation needs will help catalyze growth on the Cape and beyond," said Governor Patrick. "If we want to expand opportunity in our Commonwealth, this is what government must do and do well."
Following the success of the 2013 Cape Flyer weekend rail service from Boston to Hyannis, MassDOT, working with the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority, (CCRTA) will support permanent weekend service from Memorial Day through Columbus Day. In addition, MassDOT will launch a study to review the feasibility of year-round weekend service on the rail line. MassDOT will also add a Wareham stop on the line, which will be open when service resumes Memorial Day weekend. This year, ridership on the Cape Flyer through Columbus Day weekend was 16,586. Fare revenue from the line totaled more than $290,000.
"The CapeFLYER provides an excellent opportunity for people to have a convenient and relaxing "car-free' trip to enjoy the beaches, restaurants, shopping and recreational opportunities that the Cape and Islands have to offer during the summer," said CCRTA Administrator Thomas S. Cahir. "We look forward to working with the Patrick Administration and our partners to continue to provide new mobility options while reducing congestion."
The new $36 million Science Building at Cape Cod Community College will replace the current building that dates back to 1970 and will modernize the campus's Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) resources. The new building will serve as an innovation center, preparing students for the workforce needs of a 21st century global economy. Once this project is completed, the Patrick Administration will have made STEM --specific investments at every state and community college in Massachusetts. In 2012, Governor Patrick also signed into law reforms that will unify the Commonwealth's community college system to better align with workforce needs and close the "skills gap" that leaves good jobs unfilled.
"We're very excited by the Governor's decision to invest in our students and faculty, and to empower the innovation economy in our region," said Cape Cod Community College President John L. Cox. "We believe strongly that innovation is this region's future, and we are committed to being a powerful force as it progresses. This commitment by the Commonwealth will create state-of-the-art facilities in which passionate educators, and visionary innovators, will use the most current knowledge and technology to inspire our students and advance the region's economy. The opportunity provided by this new facility is a very powerful one. It will support innovation in advanced manufacturing and engineering, linking us directly with key employers in this region. Making sure the design includes teaching spaces able to be reconfigured as needs change, will give us the flexibility to shift our teaching and training emphasis as industries evolve. We are extremely eager to begin, and can't wait for the ribbon cutting."
"The Patrick Administration has made investing in public higher education a top priority," said Secretary of Administration and Finance Glen Shor. "These strategic investments create construction jobs today and prepare our students to be the skilled workforce we need to fill the jobs of tomorrow."
Governor Patrick also announced today a $54,000 award to the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce for group tour marketing. The Chamber has previously received $573,000 via the regional tourism grant program administered by Massachusetts Office of Travel and Tourism (MOTT). In addition, MOTT has provided $20,000 for international marketing. These awards will help the Cape bring international visitation numbers back to pre-recession levels.
"Group travel is the efficient and 'green' way to bring visitors to the Cape," said MOTT Executive Director Betsy Wall. "The Cape Cod Chamber is wisely targeting this lucrative, year-round market."
Earlier in the day, the Governor visited the Wixon Innovation School in the Dennis-Yarmouth Regional School District to underscore the success of the school and other Innovation Schools across the state. Through new tools and flexibilities created by the Achievement Gap Act of 2010, the Wixon Innovation School has been able to implement an innovation plan that features an extended school day at no additional cost through a staggered teacher schedule. Students receive an additional 40-minute enrichment block, without extending the teachers days, which includes an average of 30 different enrichment and remediation offerings each day. The Wixon School serves students in grades 4 and 5.
Today's announcements are part of a series of events the Governor will hold in the coming weeks to demonstrate the types of investments his Administration is making in every region of the Commonwealth to expand growth and opportunity to all of our residents. The schedule of events for October is as follows:
October 30: Chelsea Growth and Opportunity Event
October 31: Fall River and New Bedford Chamber of Commerce