WNPR

Gov. Malloy Backs Enhanced Rail Plan For Western Massachusetts

Feb 16, 2017

Proponents of a plan to bring expanded intercity passenger rail service to western Massachusetts are getting support from Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy.

In a letter first reported on MassLive, Malloy called for his Bay State counterpart, Charlie Baker, to OK the planning and engineering of rail service linking the region’s cities, like Hartford and Springfield, and east to Worcester and Boston.

Tim Brennan of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission said that means getting the project to what he calls a shovel-ready position, so it can compete for federal and state funds.

“Providing passenger rail service is all important in terms of the fate, economically, of regions going forward. So we want to be connected. That’s the only way we can really think about being competitive,” said Brennan.

Brennan estimated that getting the project shovel-ready will cost about $20 million.

The Baker Administration is not committing to the project yet, saying only that the rail plan process is ongoing.

This report was originally published at New England Public Radio.