WORCESTER, Mass. (WWLP) – Senator Edward Markey and Congressman Jim McGovern introduced the return of the Brain Train Act in in Worcester Wednesday morning. The news conference will took place at Worcester Union Station at 11 a.m.
The Building Rail Across Intercity Networks to Ride Around Interior of the Nation Act authorizes $5 billion annually, for a total of $25 billion over five years, to invest in “high-performance” intercity passenger rail service that will connect communities that are historically and persistently unconnected or under-connected. These communities include ones located in Central and Western Massachusetts, within a state, across states, and around the country.
High-performance rail means passenger rail service that will enhance transportation capacity, travel times, reliability, and efficiency.
Senator Ed Markey and Congressman Jim McGovern want Congress’ support of the “Brain Train Act, new federal legislation, which would authorize the investment of billions of dollars for Massachusetts’ rail infrastructure. With Massachusetts’ population increasing, they are concerned about traffic congestion on highways, and car pollution. They believe high speed trains could help tackle the climate crisis, boost the economy, and make for a more equitable future.
“It specially provides the focus and the funding that will ensure smaller and historically disadvantaged communities, that they have their own connections,” said Senator Markey.
Union station in Worcester is considered the crossroads for train travel in central Massachusetts. According to rail advocates, the high speed trains have many benefits and are the transportation of the future.
“Trains are a modern way to travel, they are not old fashioned, or nostalgic,” said Karen Christenson of the Western Massachusetts Rail Coalition. “They are practical, they are efficient.”
“Now we are in a position where there is federal funding basically at the door waiting to be unlocked,” said Ben Heckscher, Co-founder of Trains in the Valley. “Now what we are looking for is for federal dollars to come and MassDOT and the governor can put this forward now as an initiative for the future.”
It’s not just about connecting Massachusetts communities. The hope is that Pittsfield can serve as a connection point to New York City. The legislation would provide $5 billion annually, for a total of $25 billion over 5 years.
Congressman Jim McGovern also stressed, that they are working to get this legislation passed ASAP, so Massachusetts can go full steam ahead in upgrading the rail system.