On Friday, June 20, at the request of the town administrator, various stakeholders met at the Ayer Town Hall to discuss several issues as the relate to commuter access at the Ayer stop on the MBTA Commuter Rail Line.

Those attending were Selectman Chris Hillman; Town Administrator Robert A. Pontbriand; assistant to the Town Administrator Carly Antonellis; Economic Development Director Dave Maher; Sen. James Eldridge; Rep. Jen Benson; Rep. Sheila Harrington; staff representatives from Sen. Warren's office, Sen. Markey's office and U.S. Rep. Tsongas' office, Kristin Wood from the Federal Transit Administration; several representatives from the MBTA; Mo Khan and Bruno Fisher from MART; George Kahale from MRPC; MJTC representatives Pauline Hamel and Peter Johnston; MPO representative Frank Maxant.

Mark Boyle from the MBTA advised that within the next several weeks, the MBTA is expecting a proposal from the property owner. The MBTA will review the proposal and get back to the town of Ayer. The MBTA, at the request of the town, has ensured the town the resolution to the access issue will meet the federal and state requirements for the Ayer Commuter Rail Surface Parking Lot project.

Ayer Selectman Chris Hillman and state Sen. Jamie Eldridge informed all parties present that on June 17, the Board of Selectmen unanimously authorized the formation of a citizen's advisory group to interface between all entities involved and the public/commuters in terms of keeping them informed.

Tsongas' office, MART and the FTA have confirmed that the $3.2 million project earmark is in no jeopardy of expiring. Additionally, the $800,000 matching funds are also secure.

The meeting was the first time that all stakeholders met together and reaffirmed the importance of this project to the transportation and economic development, of not only Ayer but the entire region.

The meeting ended with a brief walking tour of the station and the proposed project for those interested.

For questions pertaining to this issue or the project as they relate to the town of Ayer, please contact David Maher, director of Economic Development, at 978-772-8206 or dmaher@ayer.ma.us.