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Gov. Charlie Baker visits Springfield's Union Station, discusses development of east-west rail

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker speaking at a podium in Union Station about East-West rail plans. Behind him is Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and U.S. Representative Richard Neal.
Nirvani Williams
/
NEPM
Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker speaking at a podium in Union Station about East-West rail plans. Behind him is Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and U.S. Representative Richard Neal.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker joined U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, D - Massachusetts, and other officials at Union Station in Springfield on Tuesday to talk about the proposed east-west rail, which would connect eastern Massachusetts to central and western Massachusetts by Amtrak.

Baker rode in Amtrak's “Theatre Car” from South Station in Boston to Union Station in Springfield alongside Secretary of Transportation Jamey Tesler, Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner and other officials from the state's Department of Transportation.

Baker signed off on a $275 million plan that would go towards the development of the project in his $11 billion infrastructure bill. He said he would use his remaining time in office to put the long-discussed east-west rail expansion project in position to benefit from the new federal infrastructure law. Baker also said his team is planning to submit the federal grant applications needed to continue the rail proposal by the end of the year.

The CEO of Amtrak, Stephen Gardner, said they could potentially run Amtrak trains that are docked at Union station to make early connections in the east.

"In order to do that, we've got to go through the work that the governor described, which is to get all of our plans in place and go through a process of application through the federal administration," Gardner said. "It's going to be all of us working in concert, working together with CSX, the owner of the railroad west here from Worcester, on coming up with an opportunity and an approach that works."

StateHouse News Service contributed to this report.

Nirvani Williams covers socioeconomic disparities for New England Public Media, joining the news team in June 2021 through Report for America.