Trains are good for economic development

Back in the early 1980s, Davis Square in Somerville, Massachusetts, was more or less a backwater, even though it was only roughly two miles from the college hotbed of Harvard Square in Cambridge. Now, more than 20 years later, Davis Square has long since morphed into its own distinct hotspot, with a variety of restaurants, bars, and other attractions.

What caused the difference? Some of this is due to the general rise of Somerville, which benefits from its proximity to Boston and Cambridge, and to the overall takeoff and gentrification of housing in greater Boston. But a big piece of the puzzle was the placement of an MBTA transit station in Davis Square.

This is why today's news about a train station plan being revived at T.F. Green Airport is good news. I mean, we all like Garage C, but how great would it be to be able to take a train to the airport before jetting off somewhere?

Rhode Island needs more of this kind of intermodal development. It might be challenging to pursue it now, with the state facing projected budget deficits, but pursuing such efforts will put the Ocean State on a stronger economic footing.

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