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Rep. Neal: East-West Rail Should Be 'Price' Of Boston-Area Rail Investments

Massachusetts U.S. Rep. Richard Neal.
File photo
Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com
Massachusetts U.S. Rep. Richard E. Neal.

If Massachusetts is going to invest in fixing the Boston-area MBTA transit agency, as it appears leading lawmakers intend to, then state officials also need to invest in an east-west rail connection, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal told business leaders in Boston. 

"If we're to have a major fix of the MBTA, which everybody of Massachusetts pays for, east-west rail ought to be the price for western and central Massachusetts," Neal told the New England Council Thursday morning. "And I think that this can be done."

Neal is the chairman of the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee and a former mayor of Springfield.

Supporters say better rail service between Greater Boston and western Massachusetts would help connect residents to job opportunities and help alleviate some pressure around housing in the east.

Since last year, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation has been studying what it would take to implement passenger rail service from Boston to Springfield and Pittsfield.

"I understand you need an efficient mass transit system in the capital region, but we need improved rail that would only enhance economic growth in central and western Massachusetts," Neal told the State House News Service after his remarks.

Neal, governors Deval Patrick and Charlie Baker, and former Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy used federal stimulus money to improve service on the north-south route through Springfield, leading to 12 more trains a day between Springfield and Hartford, and 16 more daily trains between Hartford and New York City, the congressman recounted.

"And I want to do the same thing on the east-west route," he said. "It works well to Worcester. We want to go Worcester west."

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