Senate approves study of Boston to Springfield rail connection

Union Station - Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – High speed rail connecting Boston to Springfield is inching forward.

The amendment still needs approval from the house, and Gov. Baker. If approved, the study would be done by the end of 2017.

All aboard. The state Senate voted unanimously Thursday to commission a study on East / West rail to connect Boston to Springfield.

State Senator Eric Lesser sponsored the idea.

“You have MGM opening, you have Union Station opening, you have a new rail car facility that is going to be making the MBTA cars, now is the time for us to make this project a reality,” said State Senator Eric Lesser.

Next, lawmakers will focus on getting federal and state funding to upgrade the existing freight rail line that connects Springfield to Boston to accommodate high-speed passenger rail.

State Senator Eric Lesser told 22News that establishing East / West rail between Boston and Springfield isn’t just about connecting geographical areas, it’s about connecting economies.

“We are losing families, we are losing companies, we are losing employment options to the Eastern part of the state. Boston is booming. The 617 area code is growing. The way we lift everyone is by connecting both regions through fast, reliable transportation.”

Transportation that means jobs.

“If you can bring employees to employers and give people the opportunity to live in a fairly low-cost of living area like western Massachusetts, you are actually doing economic development in that realm too,” said William MacGregor, a Commissioner of Springfield’s Redevelopment Authority.

Springfield’s revitalized transportation hub known as Union Station will open in less than a month. 4-million people annually will board the trains, alleviating some of stress from the 50,000 cars a day that pass through Springfield’s viaduct.

Right now, people who live here but work in Boston either commute to Worcester and take train or drive to the Riverside T-stop and ride into the city. Neither way is realistic for business.