Massachusetts Senate agrees to state study of Boston-Springfield rail
Shira Schoenberg, MassLive The Massachusetts Senate has adopted an amendment that would require the state to study the feasibility of developing high-speed rail between Boston and Springfield.
"This study will be a first step toward establishing a rail link between Boston and Springfield," said State Sen. Eric Lesser, D-Longmeadow, who sponsored the amendment. "For our economy in the Pioneer Valley to grow, we need to connect ourselves to the red-hot growth we've seen in other parts of the state. Rail will help make that happen."
The amendment was adopted on voice vote on Thursday as the Senate finished debating its $38.1 billion budget. The budget must still go through a committee of House and Senate negotiators.
The amendment would require the Department of Transportation to look at the costs and economic opportunities related to developing high-speed rail between Springfield and Boston. The study must look at capital costs, operating costs and revenue estimates, projected ridership, required upgrades, environmental impacts, availability of outside funding sources and general benefits to Springfield and the state. The report would be due Dec. 1, 2016.
The amendment was based on a similar bill that Lesser sponsored, which was backed by several Western Massachusetts lawmakers.