Mass. Lawmakers Want to Make It Easier to Create Rail Trails

Two Massachusetts state lawmakers want to make it easier for communities to purchase dormant railroad tracks to convert into recreational trails.

The MetroWest Daily News reports state Sen. Jamie Eldridge and state Rep. Carmine Gentile, both Democrats, jointly filed legislation that, if approved, would allow cities and towns to use Community Preservation Act money to purchase railroad lands to transform into trails for walking, running and bicycling.

Community Preservation Act money can be used to preserve open space and historic sites, create affordable housing and develop outdoor recreational facilities. But the state Department of Revenue has ruled that it cannot be used to buy federal rail banks and rights of way.

Eldridge, of Acton, says rail trails improve public health by providing safe opportunities for exercise and boost economic development.

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