Momentum builds for the Boston-Springfield rail service

Momentum builds for the Boston-Springfield rail service

Can a Springfield-Boston commuter train finally leave the station?

One of the most powerful members in the US House hopes that it is so. Congressman Richie Neal from Springfield went on a trip to Boston for a meeting of the New England Council on Thursday to make an important point: Big Rail's next spending must include its part of the state, not just the MBTA.

Then, on Friday, Senator Eric Lesser presented the Station Joe Kennedy from the Union Station in Springfield. Fewer made the case for his favorite project, east-west railway. (It also happened to support Kennedy from the US Senate.) Springfield station refurbished, which was reopened in 2017 after many years of neglect, gets a regular parade of trains from Connecticut cities every day. But few visits from Boston, courtesy of Amtrak train only takes well over two hours to get there.

Mass Western politicians are not just there. Some executives from Boston see over Worcester rail service as one way to combat the frustration of their employees with high-sky housing costs. This week, Boston A Better City's business group estimated that $ 5 billion should be spent through 2040 on a high-speed west-west railway as part of its ambitious call to invest $ 50 billion in transport over 20 years. This eye would be more than enough to complete a regular commuter service from Springfield.

This quest may seem relatively time-consuming. Governor Charlie Baker spent the brakes once, crossing a legislation in 2016 to study the idea. However, he reversed a course two years later, and a State funded review is ongoing. Six options were made available in July, with price tags. It is simple: six daily round trip along existing tracks between Springfield and Worcester, where riders could transfer to bound commuter trains at Boston. The most complex: up to 16 trains a day, racing a new less circular railway track along the Pike Mass. (The mixture also includes a mixture of Pittsfield.)

Which to choose? No wonder, there are some disagreements.

Northampton's economic development director Terry Masterson prefers to start the low-budget approach first, and build on a regular commuter service. Even modest improvements could attract more riders, it argues, rather than wait to set new tracks.

Rick Sullivan, president of West Massachusetts Economic Development Council, recognizes the logistical and financial barriers. But he says that it would be better to be heavy from the start, have a worthwhile impact – for example with a plan that will ensure a 90 minute journey, one seat, to Boston.

No matter what the final way, Neal wants to show some love to his part of the state. Like other Western Mass politicians, Neal looked for the Big Dig vacuum transport funds for a project on Boston, for forty years. Now that transport spending is a hot topic in the State House again, Neal says that communities west of Westborough should also benefit.

Neal emphasizes the success of Connecticut trains as evidence that their colleagues will take the railings, if given the option. The Hartford CTrail line has been a huge success to date, building apartments in Wallingford, Windsor Green, and other stops along the route.

Federal funds would be crucial to setting east-west trains. Well now Neal chairs Ways and Means, the person who holds the purse strings. The Democratfield Democrat says that he met Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin a fortnight ago. The focus: a new trade agreement in North America passed. Neal states that Mnuchin has promised to provide a viable infrastructure bill when this trading deal is made.

Even if he is able to get cash heaps in Washington, Neal says that Baker still needs him.

The Republican governor reluctantly came to this question. But the Baker administration suggests that he has an open mind today. When asked about the support given by Baker for the Springfield-Boston service, a spokesperson supported the administration of the east-west rail study (due for completion in the spring), as well as the Greenfield-Springfield pilot and the additional southbound service. New Haven.

The reform sets almost $ 100 million to open the long-lost Union Station what can be done when state and federal leaders work together, regardless of their political affiliation.

Guess how long did that person take? Four decades. Neal, Lesser, and their allies hope that a viable east-west rail service can reach a faster pace. Maybe not at a train speed the pillars. Perhaps at the speed of government bureaucracy it can cope, effectively and efficiently.

Jon Chesto can be found at Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.

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