Ridership might be down because of the pandemic, but new transit projects continue to be up across the U.S.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is deciding on where it will put a possible east-west passenger rail project. The project could cost as much as $4.6 billion and would carry 278,000 to 469,000 passengers a year.
MassDOT is looking at three options. The first would run between Pittsfield and Boston and would share the CSX and MBTA tracks that are already in place. Another possibility is using shared tracks at the beginning and end of the line but a new track between Springfield and Worcester. The third option would be like the second but would add high-speed shortcuts between Springfield and Worcester.
According to a study that was conducted, several steps should occur to advance planning for an east-west route, including further discussions with CSX about its policies for use of its tracks between Springfield and Worcester. A follow-up study covering potential economic and community benefits and impacts also has been recommended. Funding sources have to be explored as well.