Governor takes in town’s vision

Governor Deval Patrick paid a visit to Framingham last week, meeting with local legislators, elected officials, and transportation leaders to talk about the town's vision to improve its infrastructure and boost the local economy. Patrick and local officials discussed digging a tunnel at the railroad crossing downtown, accommodating either vehicles traveling on Waverly Street or the train tracks, to help to alleviate clogged traffic at the intersection. The governor also toured a vacant site on Blandin Avenue that the MetroWest Regional Transit Authority is eyeing for an expanded intermodal bus station and offices. MWRTA administrator Ed Carr said that although the bus service is planning to move to the new facility in the next three to four years, additional funds from the state could help it move in by early next year instead. Town Manager Robert Halpin, pointing to the adjacent rail yards that the state recently purchased from CSX Corp., a national freight transportation company, said state officials could help the town acquire the property and turn it over to residential developers as a way to create more housing downtown. However, much of the funds Framingham officials were seeking are contingent on passage of Patrick's recently proposed $34.8 billion budget, which calls for an increase in the state income tax from 5.25 percent to 6.25 percent.