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East-West Rail Advances with $275 Million in Infrastructure Funding

BOSTON — The Massachusetts Senate committed $275 million to design, engineering, and construction costs to expand east-west rail to Western Mass. in an amendment to a $10.4 billion infrastruture bond bill passed on Thursday.

“The train is leaving the station,” state Sen. Jo Comerford said on the Senate floor, the Republican reported. “Transportation solutions are an absolute necessity if cities and towns of Western Massachusetts are going to attract new residents and new economic growth.”

East-West rail would deliver passenger service between Pittsfield, Springfield, Palmer, Worcester and Boston, according to the infrastructure bond bill.

State Sen. Eric Lesser filed a successful bill amendment that boosted east-west rail funding from $250 million to $275 million within the infrastructure bond bill, the Republican noted.

“Billions are wasted in time and wear and tear on our roads and in damages to their vehicles as a result of the soul-crushing traffic that we’ve got here in Massachusetts,” Lesser said. “In Western Massachusetts, we have a great qualify of life, we have a lot of open space, we have a much more affordable cost of living. But we don’t have connectivity to that fast-growing, red-hot economy in the Boston area.”

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