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Massachusetts to analyze freight transportation system, update rail plan

The commonwealth of Massachusetts is about to conduct its first "State Rail Plan" since 1989. The commonwealth recently announced it will conduct a comprehensive freight transportation study, which would include the rail plan.

Initiated by the Executive Office of Transportation, the $1 million study aims to find ways to expand and increase investment in Massachusetts' freight transportation system. The state rail plan will be based on a thorough review of all rail infrastructure and the relationship between freight and passenger railroads on common rail lines.

Expected to take 15 months to complete, the study will involve freight transportation providers, railroads and shippers, and include public hearings and outreach programs. A team of experts in freight transportation — with "particular expertise" in railroad infrastructure and operations — also will participate in the study, according to the commonwealth.

"Thoughtful planning of freight rail transportation, in coordination with other modes of freight transport, will positively impact economic development and our quality of life in the commonwealth," said Lt. Governor Timothy Murray in a prepared statement. "Creating the first state rail plan in nearly 20 years is critical to our ability to expand commuter-rail service in a smart and responsible manner, while also ensuring the efficient delivery of goods to the market."

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More News from 5/8/2008