Rail Bills | Mass. Legislature

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

A check mark indicates that Trains In The Valley supports the proposed bill.


Springfield-Boston Rail Working Group


Bill H.3429 — “An Act relative to improving passenger rail service between Springfield and Boston”


Presenter | Representative Peter V. Kocot (1st Hampshire)

Summary | This bill instructs the MassDOT Office of Transportation Planning to convene a working group for the purpose of expediting the improvement of passenger rail service between Springfield, Worcester and Boston.

Commentary | The working group that is envisioned would bring together key decision makers in an effort to “kick start” the expansion of passenger rail service along the so-called Inland Route which runs from Boston to New Haven, via Springfield.


Springfield-Boston High-Speed Rail Study


Bill S.1935 — “An Act to study the feasibility of high-speed rail access between Springfield and Boston”


Presenter | Senator Eric P. Lesser (First Hampden and Hampshire)

Summary | This bill instructs the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to conduct a feasibility study of high-speed passenger rail service between Springfield and Boston.

The study would examine and evaluate the costs and economic opportunities related to establishing high-speed rail service between the cities of Springfield and Boston, including but not limited to: (i) the projected capital costs; (ii) the projected operating costs and revenue estimates; (iii) the projected ridership levels; (iv) the prospect of operating high-speed rail service on existing rights of way and other operational issues; (v) the environmental and community impact estimates; (vi) the availability of federal, state, local and private sector funding sources; and (vii) the resulting economic, social and cultural benefits to the greater Springfield region and the commonwealth as a whole.

Commentary | The proposed feasibility study, which would build upon the Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative study, would provide a meaningful and thorough review of the potential economic benefits of high-speed passenger rail service between Boston and Springfield.


Regional Transportation Ballot Initiatives


Bill S.1551 — “An Act relative to regional transportation ballot initiatives”


Presenter | Senator Eric P. Lesser (First Hampden and Hampshire)

Summary | This bill would enable one or more municipalities in the commonwealth to raise funds for local and regional transportation investments through voter-approved ballot initiatives.

Commentary | Regional ballot initiatives are used to finance transportation investments in states all across the country (including California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, South Carolina, Utah, and Washington.)

More than 300 transportation ballot measures appeared on the November 2016 ballot, including over forty ballot measures that focused on public transit investments totaling over $200 billion. The majority of the measures were approved. (A listing of recent transportation ballot measures can be found on this link: 2016 Transportation Ballot Measures.)


Further reading

“Want Transit? Get It on the Ballot!”
By Gabrielle Gurley | The American Prospect | October 28, 2016

Moving Forward with Funding
New strategies to support transportation and balanced regional economic growth
MassInc | October 2011


Page last updated: October 18, 2017
Page last reviewed: February 7, 2017