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Tuesday, February 05, 2013    

Massachusetts Gov. Patrick backs more passenger-rail service

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Secretary Richard Davey joined other state and local officials in Stockbridge, Mass., last week to highlight the economic benefits of expanded passenger rail in the region.

The governor's recently introduced 21st Century Transportation Plan includes $113.8 million for passenger-rail service improvements between Pittsfield and New York City. Work will include track rehabilitation, signal system installation, grade crossing improvements and the construction of six stations along the 37-mile corridor in Massachusetts, Patrick administration officials announced in a press release.

The governor's transportation plan includes $1 billion annually for Massachusetts' transportation system to maintain current assets and launch a number of high-impact transportation projects.

MassDOT recently received federal highway discretionary funds to support a station location and design analysis study for passenger service, state officials said. Past research indicated that passenger rail has the potential to attract 2 million one-way riders annually from commuters, second homeowners, students and visitors from New York City, they said.

"While the Berkshire County region is well known as a tourism destination, its existing transportation infrastructure has made it difficult for businesses and innovators to truly thrive," said Davey. "Whether it's unlocking a region's potential or keeping its momentum going, we need to make these kinds of investments that will meet the needs of tomorrow's job creators and their workforce."

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