What is the future of high speed rail in Western Massachusetts? Residents gathered at the Sixteen Acres Library Monday night to see if service between Springfield, Worcester and Boston could be a reality.
State Senator Eric Lesser called it a political challenge.
"Anyone whose sat in traffic on I-90 or the Mass Pike can appreciate how important this would be. There are a few projects that would do more to improve quality of life for us here in the Springfield area," said Lesser.
A project of this size could cost up to $350 million. Lesser says it's a project the region simply "can't afford not to do".
"I would take the rail line from Springfield to Worcester, Springfield to Boston and come back on the rail, and I would have my vehicle parked at the end of the bus line. It was quite convenient. I was able to do this positively," said David Uguccioni from Wilbraham.
It's a project long overdue that many legislatures are trying to bring to the region.
"The whole idea of high speed rail service has been kind of played since I was young," said John Watson from Springfield.
Certain parts of the state are booming, but Lesser says other communities are getting left out.
"People understand that to be competitive in the 21st century, to create a brighter future for our families here in Springfield, we need to better connect ourselves to all the different regions in Massachusetts and the best way to do that is through high speed rail," said Lesser.
With new projects underway in Springfield like MGM, Lesser said rail service is essential.
"I have been a user of the bus for public transportation because Peter Pan runs more often. But if the train ran more often, I would be more apt to use the train over the buses," said Watson.
So, is rail service just what Springfield needs? Lesser thinks so. He says what they're missing is political support. He urged residents Monday night to talk with their legislatures and tell them that they support rail service in Western Mass.
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