Sen. Lesser says overwhelming public support for regional rail shows severity of transit crisis and represents urgency to act

SPRINGFIELD – Senator Eric P. Lesser said Thursday the overwhelming public support for regional rail initiatives shows the severity of the transportation crisis across Massachusetts and represents the urgency to act.  

In a new survey, the MassINC Polling Group found three-quarters of residents support regional rail service, which would offer increased commuter rail service to and from Boston throughout the day. The vast majority of people polled statewide are also in favor of East-West Rail (76 percent), South Coast Rail (76 percent) and building the North-South Rail Link (81 percent). 

In the western part of the state, a whopping 67-percent of respondents said they “strongly support" East-West Rail to Springfield and Pittsfield. Sen. Lesser, who is Vice Chair of the Transportation Committee, first filed a bill to study the feasibility of high-speed rail service from Pittsfield to Boston in 2015. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is currently studying the proposal and plans to release its final results in the first quarter of next year. The agency released preliminary findings over the summer, offering six alternative routes. 

MassINC's results are based on a survey of 1,430 Massachusetts registered voters. Sen. Lesser’s statement is below:

“The overwhelming public support for a visionary expansion of our insufficient public transit system represents a mandate for all of us on Beacon Hill to finally take bold action and address the issue that is on the forefront of our constituents’ minds. We are in the midst of a transportation crisis and urgency is required. People can’t get to work; they can’t get home; they simply can’t move around. They are sick of it. We are out of excuses. It is time to act.”  

Eric Lesser