CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – Building a railway service for the economic future of the region is an issue for not only for Massachusetts, but for surrounding states as well.
State Senator Eric Lesser had that conversation with Hartford, Connecticut Mayor Luke Bronin during Lesser’s weekly lunchtime livestream interview Friday.
The topic focused on transportation and the benefit of rail travel to support economic development, growth and revitalization for New England. The expansion of rail accessibility has been at the top of Lesser’s legislative agenda for several years.
According to Lesser, nearly a million people live in the Springfield-Hartford metro region and lack direct connection to the major metropolitan areas of Boston and New York. Bronin believes that creating a high performance rail system would build a network connecting mid-sized cities and create greater opportunity for New England residents and businesses.
“What you have is an integrated market for talent, for ideas, for jobs, for housing in a region that has more than 10% of the country’s population, contributes 14% of the GDP. So for me, this is an economic imperative,” said Bronin.Mayor Luke Bronin, Hartford, CT
Bronin said that a new rail infrastructure project is an opportunity to transform the region in multiple ways and demonstrate what a twenty-first century transit system should be.
In April, the Capitol Region Council of Governments, based in Hartford, released a study prepared by AECOM, The Economic Benefits of Regional Rail Investment in Metro Hartford-Springfield. The study analyzed the economic benefits of East-West Rail, a component that was missing in the MassDOT East-West Passenger Rail Study. The study predicted a 10-to-1 return on economic investment with job growth and development. As Mayor of Hartford, Luke Bronin has been a longtime advocate for high-speed rail service and in February was named co-chair of the North Atlantic Rail initiative.