MassLive has covered the latest developments regarding proposed West-East rail for the Commonwealth in an article posted February 24, 2020.
Regional planners from across Western Massachusetts told MassDOT officials that more efficient passenger rail service could attract more than a half million commuter trips a year, an estimate that far exceeds the state’s recent numbers.
1Berkshire CEO/President Jonathan Butler spoke during the most recent East West Passenger Rail Study Advisory meeting, presenting a report developed by 1Berkshire, the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, State Senator Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield, the Franklin Regional Council of Governments in Greenfield, Hartford’s Capital Region Planning Commission, and the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission in Springfield, where the meeting was held.
According to the article, State officials said that they “would revisit their estimates, and increase the catchment area around rail stations from 20 miles to 40 or more miles,” assuming that riders will travel further to get to a station, and look at induced demand as a result of an updated rail system.
U.S,. Representative Richard E. Neal, D-Springfield, chairman of the House Ways & Means Committee, has said the rail expansion is a priority, and included in a $760 billion infrastructure program introduced last month. The concept also received an affirmation from Democratic U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren.