CSX bribes and the long commute

By Rosalie Tirella

It is disheartening. L.G. Tim Murray wants more commuter trains coming to Worcester. He’s been harping on this for years. All the yuppies in the Canal District agree with Timmy because they, like Murray and Green Island carpet bagger Allen Fletcher, have rich fantasy lives! Boston artists jumping on the train to fly to Worcester! Worcester artists hoppin’ on the train to zip to Boston! Thousands of ideas cross-pollinating! Money flowing into Worcester. And the dream streams on … .

But getting what he wants from CSX has been tough: Murray and pals have been working on making Worcester a true suburb of Boston for years!!! Usually to no avail!

So, what finally happens? CSX says “yes” to more commuter trains for Worcester IF (and only IF) they can turn the bottom of Grafton Hill into their own personal toilet: a huge freight yard. Doubling the size of what’s already there! Which, for the Grafton Street folks, means: Lots more freight trains, lots more noise, lots more pollution, lots more ugliness.

For what? More commuter trains? Some fantasty of hundreds of people from Boston and Worcester riding into each other’s cities for art/work? Come on! We will never have that kind of exchange – the kind of exchange TRUE suburbs of Boston have with Beantown.

Illusion #1: More Boston folks coming to Worcester for less expensive housing and then commuting to Boston to their regular jobs.

These folks are in the minority!! My sister did the opposite for years – lived in Worcester and commuted to her job in Boston. Exhausting. After an 8 or 9 hour day, it was a drag to spend 45 minutes to an hour getting home. And let’s not forget the almost 1-hour commute to work in the morning! Not a whole lot of Worcesterites did this back then. I can’t imagine thousands doing it now. A few yuppies? Maybe. But hundreds of worker bees, like my sis? No way. The 5-day-work-week commute is simply too exhausting/time consuming.

Let’s remember: Most Bostonians do not want to leave their cool nest in Boston for digs in Worcester. They may make the transition only if they can trade in their Boston condo for a real house in Worcester (costs way less $$ than house in Metro Boston). But then again, there is the extra two hours (a day) to be tacked on to EVERY WORK day. No fun.

Oh, but that’s gonna work out, everything is OK because CSX is giving the City of Worcester more than $20 million in “mitigation” dough and $1 for every train that rolls into Worcester (this is forever).

We agree with District 4 City Councilor Barbara Haller: Things are challenging for Worcester in these tough economic times, and any new partner/partnership is welcome. Especially a relationship with a deep-pocketed partner such as CSX.

But come on, folks! We are dumping on a working class neighborhood! We don’t know how all this pollution is going to affect nearby workers/residents. We guess everyone and their mother will have asthma. Maybe cancer rates will rise.

The buck always rules. It is always poor/blue collar folks and neighborhoods who get dumped on (sometimes literally). What happened to the old Italian neighborhood in East Boston? Razed to make way for Logan Airport. Locally, what happened to the good folks of Quinsig Village who struggled for years to close the (some said toxic) landfill in their neighborhood? City officials, DPW head Bob Moylan and let’s-leave-my district-in-the-dirt District 3 City Councilor Paul Clancy allowed for the landfill to be reopened – reopened to TOXIC shit from Boston. For money, of course. Money that was to go to Quinsig Village – more mitigation dough, I guess. Yeah, there’s a playground built with the funds, but, the God only knows what’s in the landfill.

And, I guess, God only knows what’s in store (on the health front) for the people of lower Grafton Hill.

But, hey, the rich have always gambled with the lives of the poor.

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