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.

 


Study of Rail Service between Pittsfield, Springfield and Boston

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Bill H.4348 — “An Act relative to improving passenger rail service between Springfield and Boston”

 

Sponsor | Joint Committee on Transportation

Summary | This bill instructs the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to conduct a feasibility study relative to rail service between the cities of Pittsfield, Springfield and Boston.

Commentary | This bill is probably moot since MassDOT has now started the process to formally study the feasibility of passenger rail service up to and including high speed rail from Boston to Springfield and Pittsfield.

 


Springfield-Boston High-Speed Rail Study

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Bill S.2485 — “An Act to study the feasibility of high-speed rail access between Springfield and Boston”

 

Sponsor | Joint Committee on Transportation

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.

This bill is probably moot since MassDOT has now started the process to formally study the feasibility of passenger rail service up to and including high speed rail from Boston to Springfield and Pittsfield.

 


Regional Transportation Ballot Initiatives

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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

“The ‘Millionaire’s Tax’ Is Dead. Here’s Another Way To Pay For Transportation”
By Frederick Hewett | WBUR | June 20, 2018

 

 

Page last updated: June 20, 2018
Page last reviewed: February 7, 2017