SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Congressional leaders and state representatives are working to get the East-West Rail project moving. The idea for a railway connecting western Massachusetts with the rest of the state has been years in the making.

“It would benefit everyone. I’m serious, if you made it happen and made a round trip affordable.. I mean with gas prices the way they are. You make it affordable people will ride it,” said David Houck of Springfield.

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker jumped on board with the idea earlier this year. On Monday, a state house committee advanced an infrastructure bond bill for $9.75 billion. However, there was no mention of the East-West Rail project in the bill.

Springfield State Representative Orlando Ramos told 22News, “Especially now, particularly post COVID, living in a virtual world, that opens up a lot of opportunity for people and economic development opportunity. Opportunities where people don’t necessarily have to live in the place that they work.”

Supporters of the project are pushing for an East-West Rail Authority, Congressman Richard Neal has been a strong advocate for this railway, “The conversations are going well. The Governor thought the next 40 to 65 days would be very important. I agree with that.”

If lawmakers don’t put plans for a East-West Rail Authority into motion soon, the project could lose out on funding.

“If we don’t put our shovel in the ground, that money will be requested by other parts of the state,” said Neal.