Saxonville Industrial Track

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F-line to Dudley via Park
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Re: Saxonville Industrial Track

Post by F-line to Dudley via Park » Fri Jan 08, 2016 9:03 am

johnpbarlow wrote:FWIW, residential land value in MetroWest Boston can reach $2M/acre. Wellesley, the town adjacent to Natick to the east, just bought approx 47 undeveloped acres from Wellesley College for $35M or approx $645K per acre. Natick's per acre purchase price for these 22 acres is about $286,000 so it doesn't seem like an unreasonable amount.

Sidebar note re: the rail trail that Holliston put together from B&A's ex-Milford Branch indeed has a stone dust surface but it is very easy to ride using conventional road bikes. And lots of people walk it. Maybe it will require more surface maintenance than a paved trail going forward but it is a good compromise for a municipality that doesn't have a lot spare change lying around.
Yeah...they did good negotiating *calmly* with CSX for the reasonable rent deal, unlike the less well-behaved pols in Sudbury and Natick. It's just a damn shame DCR left them holding the bag. That was supposed to be a supremely nice paved trail just like the Milford section on the Penn Central-abandoned section of the ROW, and then it got unilaterally yanked from the TIP. Price tag for the job wasn't that expensive either. At minimum they need to buy the damn thing off CSX to relieve Holliston of the $3600 annual it has to pay CSX and let them apply that into a little more trail maint. Then keep their promise and eventually get that put back on the FY18-22 TIP. Gov. Patrick's transpo bill did include generous funding for the trail network. Although the Legislature shorted the bill on total funding requiring some cuts, they need to fulfill some of those pedestrian improvements out of due diligence. Trails like this that were actual-factual programmed on the schedule at one point should go first in line when the somewhat reduced funding pot is squared and ready to be doled out.

TomNelligan
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Re: Saxonville Industrial Track

Post by TomNelligan » Fri Jan 08, 2016 9:41 am

johnpbarlow wrote:FWIW, residential land value in MetroWest Boston can reach $2M/acre. Wellesley, the town adjacent to Natick to the east, just bought approx 47 undeveloped acres from Wellesley College for $35M or approx $645K per acre. Natick's per acre purchase price for these 22 acres is about $286,000 so it doesn't seem like an unreasonable amount.
All true, but in this case we're talking about a narrow strip of land that's basically useless for anything except a railroad or a rail trail. There are probably some abutters who would have bought up small chunks to expand their property, but it's not like CSX was selling a buildable 22-acre lot off Route 9.

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Re: Saxonville Industrial Track

Post by Red Wing » Fri Jan 08, 2016 10:26 am

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:It's just a damn shame DCR left them holding the bag. That was supposed to be a supremely nice paved trail just like the Milford section on the Penn Central-abandoned section of the ROW, and then it got unilaterally yanked from the TIP.
The problem is how much money does DCR have for land purchases. There are different types of land purchases such as critical habitat, watershed, rail trail and so on. They only have so much money and you can't just move money from critical habitat purchases to rail trail purchases. Also on the maintenance and building side of things, DCR just did a major rehab of the Norwottuck, the Canalside trail is closed right now, the Ashuwillticook is about to be expanded, Nashua River and Cape Cod trails are do for rehab. Not to mention the Upper Charles Pathway is closed for repairs. And don't forget the continued expansion of the Central Mass.

Just like rail expansions show me the money. If they had the money I'm sure DCR would have purchased these disused corridors.

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Re: Saxonville Industrial Track

Post by F-line to Dudley via Park » Fri Jan 08, 2016 11:26 am

Red Wing wrote:
F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:It's just a damn shame DCR left them holding the bag. That was supposed to be a supremely nice paved trail just like the Milford section on the Penn Central-abandoned section of the ROW, and then it got unilaterally yanked from the TIP.
The problem is how much money does DCR have for land purchases. There are different types of land purchases such as critical habitat, watershed, rail trail and so on. They only have so much money and you can't just move money from critical habitat purchases to rail trail purchases. Also on the maintenance and building side of things, DCR just did a major rehab of the Norwottuck, the Canalside trail is closed right now, the Ashuwillticook is about to be expanded, Nashua River and Cape Cod trails are do for rehab. Not to mention the Upper Charles Pathway is closed for repairs. And don't forget the continued expansion of the Central Mass.

Just like rail expansions show me the money. If they had the money I'm sure DCR would have purchased these disused corridors.
Well...if "show me the money" was that dubious they wouldn't have put the Upper Charles Trail on the TIP for a full paving and landscaping job...then removed it at the last minute and left Holliston holding the bag. There's a fair amount of politics being played here, and people behind the scenes manipulating most-favored projects. They're spending gobs of money, but the most-favored projects are changing from election to election. Whoever's been influencing the TIP for the last 4 years succeeded at swinging it away from Holliston and a scheduled commitment to that trail.

They'd probably spend their money more wisely if the process weren't so easy to manipulate...but that's provincial Massachusetts gov't for ya.

boatsmate
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Re: Saxonville Industrial Track

Post by boatsmate » Sun Jan 10, 2016 8:52 am

Everyone forgets the RR land grabbing by the state was done under the last administration, the one now in office is facing another 50 million dollar short fall before the end of the Fiscal year. don't look for any money to be ponied up for rail trails etc for a while. as an example look at the Green line extension.

craven
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Re: Saxonville Industrial Track

Post by craven » Sun Jan 10, 2016 2:35 pm

http://www.metrowestdailynews.com/artic ... /160107795

Article states 6.5 Million to construct the Trail. That's on top of the 6.3 million to purchase from CSX.

That could pave a lot of sidewalks for people to walk/bike on.

A waste of Tax payers money.

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Re: Saxonville Industrial Track

Post by F-line to Dudley via Park » Sun Jan 10, 2016 3:12 pm

boatsmate wrote:Everyone forgets the RR land grabbing by the state was done under the last administration, the one now in office is facing another 50 million dollar short fall before the end of the Fiscal year. don't look for any money to be ponied up for rail trails etc for a while. as an example look at the Green line extension.
Umm...the state TIP, released under this administration, programs $9M in real funds between now and FY2018 for the Saxonville Branch trail to construct a footbridge over Route 30 and rehab the Route 9 overpass. Get that?...it programs money to rehab the Route 9 bridge--where MassDOT likely owns the bridge but only the bridge--serving the trail portion that nobody has yet purchased from CSX. Where if Natick can't self-fund during this limited STB negotiating window...nobody will have purchased by the time that real, Baker-approved bridge funding gets to work. See for yourself on p.73 of the PDF: http://www.massdot.state.ma.us/Portals/ ... TIPWeb.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;.

While you're at it, just do a keyword search throughout the document for "trail" and see how much funding is real-deal on the books for statewide trails over the next 4 years. It's pretty flush. Bruce Freeman Phase II construction (Acton-West Concord) alone has $11.7M in committed funds, 40% this year and 60% in FY18.

None of this is remotely related to the MBTA's ledger, either; it's MassHighway, DCR, and MassDOT HQ's pie. With the TIP having some baked-in target %'s for pedestrian and recreation, so it's not like there's a mechanism in place to always make DCR first on the chopping block during a shortfall. As for line purchases...the ~$20-25M in not-MBTA money spent to purchase the Framingham Secondary and Adams Branch were closed by Baker's MassDOT during 2015. Patrick's MassDOT made the '14 board vote to authorize negotiations and the STB filings for negotiating windows, but handed over the reins before either negotiation was finalized. Follow-thru happened on this regime, and there's no evidence of a philosophical change since MassDOT-mothership paid crews were on-the-ground in Medfield dropping rail just last week.


These trails have real state spending line items grinding into gear on the current administration's programmed budget which are missing critical pieces of ownership. Yes, they can front-load the Route 9 overpass work because its poor condition has Highway Dept. implications for the roadway underneath. They did just that for the Mass Pike overpass of the S. Sudbury Secondary, which had an abutment sandblasting and deck repaint done this past year, despite that Freeman-serving ROW still being stuck in CSX negotiation purgatory. But what's the endgame? Somebody still has to write CSX the check to make the puzzle pieces fit for these programmed construction jobs. If it's vanishingly unlikely that the towns can self-fund, then what's the state's follow-through going to be? It's been 8 years...8 years of contributing to design funding for the trails, but they still don't know how they're going to acquire the land to construct the trail design?

↑That↑ doesn't make sense. Not for the Patrick era, not for the Baker era, and not for constrained budget times.

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YamaOfParadise
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Re: Saxonville Industrial Track

Post by YamaOfParadise » Sun Jan 10, 2016 6:41 pm

craven wrote: Article states 6.5 Million to construct the Trail. That's on top of the 6.3 million to purchase from CSX.
That could pave a lot of sidewalks for people to walk/bike on.
A waste of Tax payers money.
While that number is a bit high, you just aren't going to be able to do anything else with the money that matches the utility of the trail that isn't the trail itself. Sidewalks can't handle the kind of traffic a trail would, and you also can't use bicycles on sidewalks. (I get that you can physically ride bikes on a sidewalk, but you aren't supposed to because it's rather unsafe for pedestrians.)
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BandA
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Re: Saxonville Industrial Track

Post by BandA » Mon Jan 11, 2016 12:46 am

Governor Baker doesn't seem to understand the importance of purchasing ROW when it becomes available for a reasonable price (can't say whether it is a reasonable price). This is based on his reaction to the Walpole secondary purchase.

Someone suggested the other day here (perhaps another thread) that CSX is desperate for access improvements for their Springfield (west springfield?) freight yard, that they would be motivated to deal to get that freight access. (PAS is working on freight improvements and CSX won't be competitive if trucks can't get to their yard) So far it's been passed over for federal funds. So if the state lobbies their congressional delegation, in exchange for favorable terms on trackage purchases...

Yeah, spurs including Speen Street Natick or Framingham Center-Framingham State University would be heavily utilized. Especially if there is direct access to the Pike and parking. Probably one or the other, not both spurs.

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Re: Saxonville Industrial Track

Post by F-line to Dudley via Park » Mon Jan 11, 2016 6:38 am

BandA wrote:Governor Baker doesn't seem to understand the importance of purchasing ROW when it becomes available for a reasonable price (can't say whether it is a reasonable price). This is based on his reaction to the Walpole secondary purchase.

Someone suggested the other day here (perhaps another thread) that CSX is desperate for access improvements for their Springfield (west springfield?) freight yard, that they would be motivated to deal to get that freight access. (PAS is working on freight improvements and CSX won't be competitive if trucks can't get to their yard) So far it's been passed over for federal funds. So if the state lobbies their congressional delegation, in exchange for favorable terms on trackage purchases...

Yeah, spurs including Speen Street Natick or Framingham Center-Framingham State University would be heavily utilized. Especially if there is direct access to the Pike and parking. Probably one or the other, not both spurs.
The West Springfield thing is about a low-clearance bridge MassDOT needs to fix so the intermodal yard out there has direct highway access instead of the trucks needing to barrel through residential neighborhoods. Way, way back when they were negotiating the Worcester Yard deal that fix got funded for prelim design. Now it just needs construction funds. They'll roll that up into a Memorandum of Understanding with CSX guaranteeing passenger slots and upgrade permissions on the Inland Route that the state and Amtrak can execute at-will if that passenger project advances (incl. if the Inlands get delayed to another decade). No way would they shoehorn abandoned ROW's from another county into a deal that's square about Springfield-area rail improvements and already has a framework in place for agreement. Doesn't fit the scope of the Western MA-leaning political coalition that's been toiling behind the scenes for the Inlands, and arguably could bloat the price of the abandoned ROW's to lump them in with something truly valuable.


If anything they need to take advantage of CSX vacating the Milford Branch for G&U and lump these abandoned pickups in with that formality. Milford's been leased to the T since 1988 when they built the Forge Park commuter rail extension, and that 28-year-old Conrail deal has a preexisting sale provision the state can pick up at pre-arranged price that's indexed to inflation. No-haggle, and it's a pure transactional formality because CSX has no interest in paying property taxes and being a shortline's landlord on property they no longer use. That's the time to clean up the Worcester County title deeds that are all spinning in space and holding up big-money trail projects, because there's nothing price-wise to negotiate with Milford and CSX is going to be the party antsy to dump it.

I certainly don't see a situation where time is going to make these 3 ROW's any less valuable.

-- When Bruce Freeman Phase II opens to West Concord CR station in 3+ years, the existing Acton-Billerica segment explodes in utilization from the connectivity and Phase III West Concord-South Sudbury goes into design. Price starts rising and rising on Framingham-South Sudbury with those milestones; that's the second-most hyped trail project in the whole state after the Somerville Community Path extension.

-- The footbridge over Route 30 and completion of the north/non-CSX end of the Saxonville trail past TJX to the Mall drives up the price a little bit more in Natick. As do any TIGER grants or matching state funding that gets scraped together for construction starts on the final-designed Natick CR station. If the town can't meet the price in this negotiating window, it's going to go up some more. The state ensures it will by programming those footbridge funds into the TIP.

-- Holliston's in Year 2 of having a contiguous trail. The rent agreement prevents CSX from jacking the lease above $300/month, but the more the people counts tick up on trail utilization the more hardened CSX is going to get in its asking price. This was on the TIP for a full DCR landscaping job to make it consistent with the far better trail on the Milford end, so the state's long-term interest in investing here is known-known even though it got budget-deferred. How does leaving that hanging serve their future needs? The paved Milford end is going to dump enough people with time that they eventually need something more equivalent than that homeless-man's crushed stone surface with near-zero landscaping.


Put it this way: for the last 8 years these pickups have been spinning in space the trails--and their utilization--have all been future-tense and speculative. So the land value to CSX has been more or less static. Now there are major pieces of these projects moving into place adjacent to the CSX ownership that are goosing up utilization of the partially-complete trails in a big way. CSX is now going to see (if it hasn't already) some appreciation in value for these assets with real trail utilization being brought up to their doorstep. Whatever you may think of the economics of state involving itself in abandoned ROW purchases...those economics aren't going to get any better going forward. They get worse. While money is being spent on real projects that have giant holes in their routes because they waited so long the land valuation is going to start increasing. Taxpayers are going to be way more pissed that all the money was spent on that completed footbridge over Route 30 and its expensive switchback ramps that have nowhere to go to than they will care about the state caving to a perceived CSX ripoff. They get hit on both sides: rising land price for waiting too long, and devalued trails with money already spent. The longer they wait, the more it hurts them on both sides of the ledger and the crankier taxpayers get.


Yes...now would be a good time to put a bow on this. Even if it's a slight overpay. It's going to get worse for them the longer they wait, and there are not many upcoming CSX transactions left in Eastern MA beyond Milford where they can roll up these pickups into any sort of bulk discount to sidestep the trail-by-trail price inflation that's about to hit each individual line.

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BandA
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Re: Saxonville Industrial Track

Post by BandA » Mon Jan 11, 2016 11:09 pm

Do it all at once in one package, if possible. When you think about it, population is increasing but transportation corridors - not very much. Fifty years from now ROW purchases will look cheap.

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Re: Saxonville Industrial Track

Post by YamaOfParadise » Fri Apr 01, 2016 7:14 pm

The Town of Natick made a Request for Extension of Time filing to the STB on March 31 about the acquisition of the Saxonville IT. The meat-and-bones of the short filing:
... Since our last extension request was approved, we have entered into a Purchase and Sale Agreement with CSX, have substantially advanced design work and have initiated work on a perimeter (metes and bounds) survey and environmental testing.

While we hope to not need the full one-year extension period, we seek such approval to ensure sufficient time to finalize all matters. ...
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Re: Saxonville Industrial Track

Post by F-line to Dudley via Park » Sat Apr 02, 2016 11:45 am

YamaOfParadise wrote:The Town of Natick made a Request for Extension of Time filing to the STB on March 31 about the acquisition of the Saxonville IT. The meat-and-bones of the short filing:
... Since our last extension request was approved, we have entered into a Purchase and Sale Agreement with CSX, have substantially advanced design work and have initiated work on a perimeter (metes and bounds) survey and environmental testing.

While we hope to not need the full one-year extension period, we seek such approval to ensure sufficient time to finalize all matters. ...
As expected, they still don't have the money at the town level to close the purchase. If they're asking for another year, I don't see how that's going to put them any closer. They know what their own fiscal year budget is; if FY2016 is too much a reach, FY2017 probably isn't going to be much different when town-aid budgets statewide are in the midst of a long stagnant period.

Jeez, MassDOT...step in and end this thing already.

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Re: Saxonville Industrial Track

Post by Trainman101 » Mon Apr 04, 2016 10:04 pm

F-line to Dudley via Park wrote:

Jeez, MassDOT...step in and end this thing already.
Dear god no

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