Sen. Lesser invites Democratic candidates to East-West Rail debate in Springfield

SPRINGFIELD — State Senator Eric P. Lesser formally invited the state’s 2020 candidates for the Democratic nomination for U.S. Senate to a debate in Springfield on the topic of East-West Rail on Thursday.

“As you know, the vision of high-speed rail that connects both ends of our state has been under consideration for many years, and has the potential to transform our Commonwealth’s economy and create tens of thousands of new jobs,” Sen. Lesser wrote in a letter to the candidates, which currently include the incumbent, Sen. Ed Markey, Rep. Joe Kennedy, attorney Shannon Liss-Riordan and business executive Steve Pemberton.

Sen. Lesser noted that the leadership of former U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy and former House Speaker Thomas P. “Tip” O’Neill, Jr. were pivotal in accomplishing the Central Artery/Tunnel Project, which spurred the Boston economy, and that state-federal cooperation is critical for infrastructure projects of this size to succeed.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is actively studying different construction options for delivering east-west passenger rail service between Pittsfield, Springfield and Boston. Any option the state chooses would ultimately need federal funds — and vocal advocates in Washington — to build.

Many state leaders have endorsed high-speed rail, including the state’s senior U.S. Senator, Elizabeth Warren, and U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, who serves as Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.



Eric Lesser