Not only do we have leading East-West Rail proponent Eric Lesser on the ballot in the race for lieutenant governor, but the governor’s race could bring vital energy to the effort to build a North-South Rail Link in Boston. John Kyper of the Mass Sierra Club’s Transportation Committee passes this news along:
[Former state rep and infrasture advocate] John Businger reports that he met with Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Maura Healey during the State Democratic Convention on June 4th in Worcester, and she has agreed to join the North-South Rail Link Working Group. Assuming that she is elected governor in November, Healey would become the first state chief executive to openly support the Rail Link in the nearly two decades since Gov. Mitt Romney put a halt to its planning process in 2003.
The North-South Rail Link will connect Boston’s South Station with North Station. It’s about time. Governor Michael Dukakis explains, “It’s 1.1 miles in the middle of Boston, which is not connected by rail to the rest of the world. And it’s been that way for a long time. You know, it started way back when you had private railroads and the Boston & Maine brought you down to North Station, New Haven & Hartford up to South Station, and there was this gap. And I think there was a special commission in 1914 recommending the gap be closed.”
This will enable passengers on the popular Amtrak Downeaster from coastal New Hampshire and Maine, who now have to get off the train at North Station and find another means of transportation, to move on to their final destination simply by changing to a train to New York or Washington. And this will of course benefit riders on the proposed service from Pittsfield and Springfield, too.
London’s Crossrail project has a similar aim – to connect stations with similar histories, and limitations – but is far bigger and more comprehensive.
The Train Campaign’s Karen Christensen discussed this with former MA governor Michael Dukakis in 2020. He is known as a great supporter of public transportation. He thinks it’s an important investment but he’s also a believer in keeping costs in check. Listen to our podcast “All These Things Are Possible: An interview about rail transformation with Governor Michael Dukakis” and hear his views on how should governors and legislators should be thinking about rail infrastructure, and about the importance of a connection to New York, especially for Berkshire County, as well as the East-West Rail project and the North-South Rail Link.
Lots more information here, including a fascinating list of comparable projects.