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Massachusetts Committee Holds First Meeting On East-West Rail Study

A 30-plus-member advisory panel looking at expanded east-west passenger rail service in Massachusetts meets for the first time Tuesday.

A report will be produced by an engineering firm hired by the state. But they'll get advice from a panel made of up elected and state officials as well as transportation and planning experts.

Jen Slesinger, the project's manager with MassDOT, said it's important to hear from committee members why they want east-west rail.

"Be that attracting new employers to the region, whether it's really about greenhouse gas emissions, or whether they just want people to be able to live in a community and work in Boston, those different types of goals really should be looking in to," Slesinger said.

Tim Brennan, who is head of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission and a committee member, said this is a very exciting moment for the region.

"There is broad interest in this and has been for a long, long time in the region," Brennan said. "I think this is seen as an opportunity to further solidify and enhance the region's livability, economic prowess. I think there's a palpable level of enthusiasm for it."

The million-dollar study is expected to take between 12 and 18 months. Slesinger said it'll look at both high-speed and traditional rail options connecting Pittsfield, Springfield and Boston. 

There's currently one train each day between the three cities, Amtrak's Lake Shore Limited service. 

Adam joined NEPM as a freelance reporter and fill-in operations assistant during the summer of 2011. For more than 15 years, Adam has had a number stops throughout his broadcast career, including as a news reporter and anchor, sports host and play-by-play announcer as well as a producer and technician.
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