Current Legislation in Mass.

Current bills filed in the Massachusetts General Court (the legislature) that affect passenger and/or freight rail service in our region of the state.

192nd Session (2021-2022)

An Act Relative to an Interstate Compact for Western MA Rail Service

House Bill H.3532
Filed by Rep. Mark (2nd Berkshire) and Rep. Sabadosa (1st Hampshire)

3/29/2021
Referred to the committee on Transportation

An Act to establish fast, frequent, and reliable passenger rail service between Pittsfield and Boston via Springfield

Senate Bill S.2345
Filed by Sen. Lesser (First Hampden and Hampshire)

3/29/2021
Referred to the committee on Transportation

An Act funding a study of passenger service on the Housatonic rail line

House Bill H.3571
Filed by Rep. Pignatelli (4th Berkshire)

3/29/2021
Referred to the committee on Transportation

An Act creating a New Deal for Transportation in the Commonwealth

Senate Bill S.2265
Filed by Sen. Boncore (First Suffolk and Middlesex)

3/29/2021
Referred to the committee on Transportation


2020 State Budget

An Act making appropriations for the fiscal year 2022 for the maintenance of the departments, boards, commissions, institutions, and certain activities of the commonwealth, for interest, sinking fund, and serial bond requirements, and for certain permanent improvements

Commonly referred to as the Fiscal Year 2022 state budget

The current status can be found on this official link
FY2022 Budget



191st Session (2019–2020)

An Act authorizing and accelerating transportation investment

Commonly referred to as the Transportation Investment Bill or the Transportation Bond Bill

2/26/2020
House Committee on Ways and Means — reported as H.4506

3/5/2020
House — Passed as H.4547

7/10/2020
Senate Committee on Ways and Means — reported as S.2813

7/16/2020
Senate — Passed and printed as amended | see S.2836

1/5/2021
Reported by Committee on Conference | see H.5248
House – Passed
Senate – Passed

1/15/2021
The bill became law with the signature of Governor Baker, subject to “pocket votes” that reduced the total funding in the bill by $30 million.

Of particular note is this wording that was included in the bill that was signed by Governor Baker on January 15, 2021.

$175 million for Rail Improvements, including $50 million dedicated to East-West Passenger Rail

Line item 6622-2184 — $175,000,000 (reduced from $250 million)
For the purpose of implementing rail improvements pursuant to chapter 161C of the General Laws; provided, that not less than $50,000,000 shall be used for transportation planning, design, permitting and engineering, acquisition of interests in land, vehicle procurement, construction, construction of stations and right-of-way acquisition for the East-West passenger rail project, which includes Pittsfield to Boston service via Springfield, Palmer, and Worcester; provided further, that said rail improvements may take the East-West Passenger Rail Study conducted by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation into consideration; provided further, that funding for said rail improvements may be used in conjunction with any federal funding set aside for the East-West rail project;

provided further, that funds may be used for transportation planning, design, permitting and engineering, acquisition of interests in land, vehicle procurement, construction, construction of stations and right-of-way acquisition for rail projects,

  • including Housatonic Railroad service,
  • Boston to Cape Cod service, including, but not limited to, commuter service to Buzzards Bay and Cape Cod,
  • Fitchburg to Greenfield to North Adams service, Pittsfield to New York City service and Boston to Albany, New York service and
  • converting the Valley Flyer Pilot Service into a permanent commuter rail service connecting the cities town of Greenfield and the cities of, Northampton, Holyoke and Springfield;

and provided further, that not less than $25,000,000 shall be expended for transportation planning, design, permitting and engineering, acquisition of interests in land, vehicle procurement, construction of rail and stations and right-of-way acquisition for the Berkshire Flyer rail project, which includes service from the city of Pittsfield to the city of New York, New York via the city of Albany, New York.


Further reading

How an Idea Becomes a Law (PDF)
Office of the Clerk of the Senate

Page last updated: May 30, 2021
Page last reviewed: July 17, 2020