Hampden County

MassDOT puts East-West rail feasibility study into 2018 draft rail plan

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - Massachusetts State Senator Eric Lesser announced Monday that MassDOT has put an East-West rail feasibility study into its 2018 draft rail plan.

An east-west rail link would connect Springfield to Boston, and Lesser, a Longmeadow Democrat, is among many supporters who want to see the development of rail service that would make travel more convenient between western Massachusetts and the state capital.

Lesser said during a news conference Monday that they've been trying to get MassDOT to do a feasibility study on the rail link for three years.

It wasn't until Friday that there was a breakthrough in their efforts. In MassDOT's blue print of priority rail projects outside of the current service area outlined discussions for a feasibility study to connect the eastern and western parts of the state.

Lesser is now asking western Massachusetts residents to speak up. It's the open comment period, when the public can voice their concerns, their comments, and opinions on the east-west rail link. This period will last until February 19.

Last year, Lesser told 22News that the expansion would be beneficial to people living in both western Massachusetts and the Boston area; providing access to high-paying jobs in the East, and affordable living in the West.

Governor Charlie Baker had previously vetoed a study proposed by Lesser, and a later version failed to make the final state budget last year.


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