Senator Lesser Announces Statewide Whistle-Stop Tour in Support of East-West Rail
Tour to start in Boston, end with rally in Springfield
Includes stops in Framingham, Worcester and Palmer
First stop: Boston – more details to come
WHAT: Press conference with Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry and Sen. Joe Boncore
WHEN: Monday, June 19 at 9 a.m.
Second stop: Framingham
WHAT: Press conference at Framingham Station with Sen. Karen Spilka and local elected officials to discuss the regional and state-wide importance of modern rail infrastructure and concerns about the Framingham at-grade rail crossing
WHEN: Monday, June 19 at 11 a.m.
Third stop: Worcester
WHAT: Meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harriette Chandler and the Editorial Board of the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, to discuss how expansion of MBTA rail service to Worcester has transformed the city
WHEN: Monday, June 19 at 12:30 p.m.
Fourth stop: Palmer
WHAT: Meeting with Sen. Anne Gobi and local business leaders at Palmer’s Steaming Tender Restaurant to discuss Transit Oriented Development opportunities for the town and region
WHERE: Steaming Tender Restaurant
WHEN: Monday, June 19 at 3:30 p.m.
Fifth stop: Springfield
WHAT: Rally in support of east-west rail
WHERE: Union Station
WHEN: Monday, June 19 at 5:30 p.m.
SPRINGFIELD — Today Senator Eric P. Lesser announced plans for a whistle-stop tour across the state to rally support for his proposal to study the feasibility and economic benefits of a high-speed rail link between Springfield and Boston.
The tour will start with a press conference in Boston, with Sen. Lesser’s colleagues Sen. Linda Dorcena Forry and Sen. Joe Boncore, who each represent parts of Boston and Greater Boston.
The tour will then go to Framingham, where Sen. Lesser will join Sen. Karen Spilka and local elected officials to discuss the regional and state-wide importance of modern rail infrastructure and concerns about the Framingham at-grade rail crossing.
The tour will also stop in Worcester, where Sen. Lesser will meet with Senate Majority Leader Harriette Chandler and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette, and Palmer, where Sens. Lesser and Anne Gobi will meet with local business leaders.
The tour will end in Springfield with a rally in support of east-west rail at Springfield’s soon-to-reopen Union Station. The rally is open to the public, who are encouraged to attend.
Unlike a traditional whistle-stop tour, taken by train, this will be conducted in Sen. Lesser’s car, since there is only one train per day from Boston to Springfield — making it impossible to make stops along the way and complete the journey on later trains.
In May, Sen. Lesser reintroduced his budget amendment in the Massachusetts State Senate to require the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to move forward with a feasibility study of Springfield-to-Boston high-speed rail. The same amendment passed both the House and Senate last year but was vetoed by Gov. Baker.
Since then, the proposal has continued to gain support, including high-profile endorsements from U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton.
During the debate on Sen. Lesser’s amendment this May, there was a rare widespread show of support for the measure in the State Senate. Senate President Stan Rosenberg of Amherst voted to support the amendment when the Senate President, who presides over the chamber, customarily abstains from votes. Sen. Karen Spilka, Chair of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, also spoke in favor of the amendment, a gesture rarely used by the Chair of the committee, which writes the draft of the Senate budget.
Several Senators spoke in favor of the amendment before its passage, including Sen. Chandler, Sen. Gobi and Sen. Don Humason.
Sen. Lesser sees this widespread, bipartisan support of his amendment as a sign of growing momentum to get the proposal passed and signed into law by Gov. Baker.