MassDOT 2017-2021 Capital Investment Plan

– For the current capital plan, see MassDOT 2019-2023 CIP Update.

STATUS | Approved by MassDOT Board on June 20, 2016

On June 20, 2016 the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Board approved a $14.8 billion five-year Capital Investment Plan for state fiscal years (SFY) 2017-2021.

The approved plan can be found on this web page:
MassDOT FY2017-2021 Capital Investment Plan (PDF)


The rail projects in the Pioneer Valley that were funded in the SFY 2017-2021 Capital Investment Plan can be summarized as follows:

Connecticut River Line infrastructure
$54.2 million | reliability, modernization, and expansion projects

Springfield Union Station
$25.1 million | modernization projects

$12.0 million | reliability and modernization projects

$20.5 million | Springfield Shuttles and through trains (PRIIA 209)
$6.0 million | Vermonter (PRIIA 209)

$117.7 million


A six-page PDF document with a listing of funded rail projects in the Pioneer Valley can be viewed by clicking on the image below:

MassDOT 2017-2021 CIP - Pioneer Valley Rail Projects - 20 Jul 2016 p1


Notably, the approved Capital Investment Plan did not include any funding for the following regional rail initiatives:

• Continued capital investments in support of the new Hartford Line (e.g., rehabilitating the rail line from Windsor Locks to Springfield and additional renovated station platforms in Springfield.)

• Springfield – Greenfield expanded passenger service (proposed by the PVPC1 )

• Extension of passenger service from Boston to Springfield (proposed by the PVPC and the CMRPC2 )

For these projects to move forward other sources of either state or federal funding will have to be found.


1 Pioneer Valley Planning Commission
2 Central Massachusetts Regional Planning Commission


Comment received for the Draft Capital Investment Plan

(those related to rail service in the Pioneer Valley)


Comment from the Secretary of Transportation, Vermont:
Would like $36M in funding to upgrade 32-miles of New England Central Railroad (NECR) line in Western MA [which runs between VT and CT via Palmer] so that it is up to the modern freight weight load carry standard of 286K lbs. State of VT has invested over $63M to upgrade the track that runs through VT and NH.

Comment from the Commissioner, New Hampshire DOT:
Would like the NECR “286K” plan to upgrade the MA portion of their rail line in the CIP. State of New Hampshire has worked with the State of VT and NECR in conjunction with the feds. Modernization of the north-south rail connections to accommodate the modern gross weight rail standard of 286K lbs will allow for the critical east-west connections with the Class I freight lines. Similar projects underway in Connecticut, only the MA portion of the route needs to be completed.

Question from Assistant VP, Gov’t Affairs, New England Central Railroad:
Request $36M for upgrade to NECR line in Western MA to accommodate the modern rail freight standard weight of 286K. The NECR 286K Project is a public-private partnership between the NECR and the Commonwealth of MA to maintain and grow rail freight business in MA. The line runs from the Canadian border through MA to New London, CT, a deep water port. Upgrading the NECR route will also benefit the businesses on connecting railroads. It is a vital north-south freight link that also provides east-west connections within MA and New England. NECR has committed $9M in funds to close the gap.

Comment from CEO/President, Sherwood Lumber (Palmer):
Would like $36M in funding to upgrade NECR’s line in Western MA so that it is up to the modern freight weight load carry standard of 286K lbs.

Comment from VP Logistics, Essroc Cement Corp (Palmer):
Would like $36M in funding to upgrade NECR’s line in Western MA so that it is up to the modern freight weight load carry standard of 286K lbs.

Reply from MassDOT:
Some funding has been included in the CIP for this project so that it can pursue federal discretionary funds.

Comment from the President of Maple Leaf Distribution Service (Palmer):
Freight service – need for freight sometimes overlooked. New England Central Railroad – weight capacity does not meet national standards. Wants rails upgraded to meet capacity demand. Provides options for shippers if upgraded; consider freight rail an investment.

Reply from MassDOT:
MassDOT is currently working towards the development of a freight plan which will address the needs of the freight community in Massachusetts.

Comment from the Executive Director, Pioneer Valley Planning Commission:
The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) is appreciative of 6 projects in the CIP including PVTA Transit Fleet Renewal and Enhanced Passenger Rail Knowledge Corridor. PVPC would like inclusion of the following priority projects into the CIP: 1) NECR Freight Upgrade, 2) Hadley Route 9 Congestion Management, 3) Route 21 Putts Bridge reconstruction in Springfield/Ludlow, 4) Inland Route and connecting rail, 5) PVTA Springfield Bus Operations and Maintenance Facility, 6) Regional Bike Share Program.

Reply from MassDOT:
Some funding is now being made available for NECR so that it can pursue federal discretionary funds.

Comment from a member of the public (Newton):
There should be planning funds for extending fast train service to Springfield and Western Mass. This could link up with the Knowledge Corridor route to Hartford, New Haven, and New York. Fast train service to Springfield would be a major economic boost to the Greater Springfield economy. The CIP seems to be oriented to maintaining the existing infrastructure. To truly promote economic development throughout MA there has to be more of a long-term vision for investment. It will more than pay for itself.

Reply from MassDOT:
MassDOT is working to update its State Rail Plan, which will help to detail our passenger rail approach in the future.


Capital Investment Plan Comments (PDF) | MassDOT | June 9, 2016


Further Information

Capital Investment Plan | MassDOT (Archived July 20, 2016)

Recommendations for MassDOT Project Selection Criteria (PDF)
Project Selection Advisory Council | July 1, 2015



Page last updated: May 24, 2018
Page last reviewed: May 22, 2018