Senator Lesser Applauds Announcement that East-West Rail Study Is Moving Forward

SPRINGFIELD — Senator Eric P. Lesser joined Governor Charlie Baker, Congressman Richard Neal and other local leaders at Union Station on Tuesday to hear the announcement that he and thousands of Western Massachusetts residents have long waited to hear: the state is moving forward with a study of high-speed rail linking Springfield to Boston. Gov. Baker and Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack announced that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is putting out a Request for Proposals to engineering consultants interested in conducting the study to submit their recommended plans and pricing for the study.

“This progress is thanks to the thousands of people in Western Mass who didn’t give up, who didn’t back down, and who made clear to those on Beacon Hill that a study of East-West Rail is a priority for our region,” said Sen. Lesser. “We have fought for this for four years, and at long last, the Administration has heard us. I’m glad that Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack is following through with her promise to the people of Western Mass to begin work on this study, and I’ll look forward to tracking its progress and keeping in contact with Secretary Pollack and Gov. Baker as this study moves forward.”

The study will take 12 to 18 months to complete the necessary review process, and will build off previous work completed by the state and federal government, Gov. Baker said at the press conference.

In January, MassDOT released the draft of its 2018 State Rail Plan, which included a feasibility study of east-west passenger rail service between Boston and Springfield. Today, Secretary Pollak announced that the State Rail Plan is final, and that the study will proceed.