BOSTON (WWLP) – The East-West rail study committee was initially supposed to release a report on their findings this winter, but due to unexpected complications, that report will now be made available months later, in the spring of 2020.
Senator Eric Lesser, a member of the East-West Advisory Committee is urging members to finish the study so that western Massachusetts residents know what to expect when it comes to the future of public transportation.
For years, the MBTA and other statewide transportation plans have been supported by the tax dollars, which includes money coming from western Massachusetts residents.
People in the Eastern part of the state have lots of options when it comes to finding public transportation, a luxury that’s not afforded to those in the western part of the state.
In small towns and rural areas, like those in Franklin County, bus services aren’t available at night or on the weekends.
Thousands of western Massachusetts residents also make the commute east every day, costing them upwards of $200 a week in gas and toll fees.
Lawmakers are hoping to see some of these issues addressed when additional rail lines are added.
“This is an urgent study, the stakes are very high, western Massachusetts is being left out of the red hot economic growth you see in eastern Massachusetts, we need the connectivity, we need the link, it would transform our entire state,” Senator Lesser said.
Supporters of East-West rail said this is the best way to increase access to affordable housing and grow the economy, all while reducing greenhouse gasses.
The latest timeline given by the study committee means their report will be released after lawmakers consider an increase in transportation revenue.