Local lawmakers still pushing for railroad study funding

The House and Senate approved the final budget on Friday

BOSTON (WWLP) – The House and Senate approved the final $40.2 billion compromise budget on Friday, sending the spending proposal to Governor Charlie Baker for review.

Several western Massachusetts lawmakers have been pushing for the state to study how to get high-speed rail service from Springfield to Boston, but the state’s Joint Committee on Ways and Means derailed that proposal.

An amendment including the funding was in the proposal passed by the State Senate in May. It failed to make it through budget conference committee negotiations.

Springfield Representative Carlos Gonzalez supports the idea of a cross-state rail connection which would make it viable for western Massachusetts residents to commute to work in Boston.

“Getting transportation from Boston to Springfield is an economic opportunity for us,” Rep. Gonzalez said. “And we need to look at all viable options.”

Although the proposal didn’t make the fiscal 2018 budget, it still has one more chance to make it through the legislature this session. A stand-alone bill was sent to the Transportation Committee for review.