- Governor Maura Healey and Lt. Governor Kim Driscoll
- Massachusetts Department of Transportation
- Federal Funds & Infrastructure Office
Media Contact for Healey-Driscoll Administration Secures More Than $108 Million for Train Corridor Improvements Between Springfield and Worcester
Karissa Hand, Press Secretary
Boston — The Healey-Driscoll Administration has announced that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), in partnership with Amtrak, and with support from CSX, has won more than $108 million in funding from the Federal Railroad Administration's (FRA) Fiscal Year 2022 Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) grant program after submitting a funding application last December. CRISI grant funding will go toward corridor infrastructure projects planned under the “Connecting the Commonwealth: Early Actions for the Inland Route Project.”
“I am thrilled we were able to secure this critical funding for central and western Massachusetts, which will lay the foundation for West-East Rail,” said Governor Maura Healey. “From day one, we said our administration was going to compete for an unprecedented level of federal funding opportunities, and I’m proud to say we are delivering on that promise. We thank the Biden-Harris Administration for their continued historic investments in infrastructure and are grateful for the strong partnership of our federal delegation in promoting public transit and advancing priorities for economic competitiveness.”
“We are grateful to our congressional delegation for helping us secure this CRISI funding and thank U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and the Federal Railroad Administration for approving our application,” said Acting Transportation Secretary and CEO Monica Tibbits-Nutt. “Working with our elected leaders, municipal officials, Amtrak, CSX, and other partners we will be launching capital projects on this corridor which will have long-term positive economic impacts on the region, which will allow for additional corridor capacity, and which will decrease travel times between station destinations.”
“We are pleased to have received this funding from the CRISI program which will result in new Amtrak service connecting Boston, Springfield, and New Haven,” said MassDOT Rail and Transit Administrator Meredith Slesinger. “In addition to the new service, the funded improvements will benefit operation of the existing Amtrak Lake Shore Limited service connecting Boston, Springfield, Pittsfield and Albany and set the foundation for future east-west passenger and freight service growth. Growing rail in the Commonwealth is an essential element of our strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide more transportation options to better connect communities across the state.”
“At Amtrak, we’ve delivering a new era of passenger rail as we invest in our existing assets and plan for future growth,” said Amtrak Executive Vice President for Strategy and Planning Dennis Newman. “Today’s grant announcement will restore service on the Inland Route and enable two additional round trips per day between Boston and Springfield, delivering on the IIJA’s vision for expanded and improved passenger rail.”
“CSX is pleased that the U.S. Department of Transportation approved the application by MassDOT to contribute federal funding for corridor improvements between Springfield and Worcester under the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements Program,” said Maurice O’Connell, Regional Vice President of Government Affairs for CSX. “This is a collaborative effort that builds on the long-standing relationship with MassDOT and our passenger rail partners. We look forward to working with MassDOT and the Healey Administration to advance this vital rail infrastructure improvement project. Together, we're not only enhancing capacity to safely and reliably host passenger rail service in Massachusetts, but also ensuring seamless freight operations throughout New England. We're excited about the positive impact this will have on both our customers and the communities we serve.”
“Over the last ten years, the Commonwealth has witnessed a remarkable transformation in both freight and passenger rail, particularly with the redevelopment of Springfield’s Union Station,” said Congressman Richard E. Neal, Ranking Members of the House Committee on Ways and Means. “It is fair to say that Springfield has reestablished itself as the crossroads of New England, and with today’s announcement, we are just one step closer to making East-West Rail a reality. With much of the language in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law having been drafted in the Ways and Means Committee, I was in regular communication with the FRA to ensure my support for this application was known. The facts are simple: improving and expanding passenger rail service will have a tremendous impact on regional economies throughout the state. That is why Governor Healey has voiced her support for East-West Rail, and that is why we will continue to invest in a project whose framework has the potential to serve as a model for expanding passenger rail service across the country.”
“This is a big deal. Passenger rail is going to play an enormous role in the future of our Commonwealth, and this funding will bring us one step closer to making East-West rail a reality,” said Congressman James P. McGovern, House Rules Committee Chairman. “Thanks to President Biden’s Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, we are moving full steam ahead toward a future where every corner of our commonwealth and country is plugged into the global economy and every resident of Massachusetts has unprecedented access to reliable, efficient, and interconnected rail service that can take them where they want to go.”
“The Bipartisan Infrastructure Law provides a generational investment in passenger rail,” said Director of Federal Funds and Infrastructure Quentin Palfrey. “Massachusetts is ready to put this funding to work connecting our communities across the region while creating good paying jobs, strengthening access to economic opportunity, and promoting public transit. Thank you to the Biden-Harris Administration, Secretary Buttigieg, and the Federal Rail Administration for making this possible.”
The CRISI grant, totaling more than $108 million, will go toward the total project cost of approximately $135 million. MassDOT also plans to contribute more than $18 million and Amtrak $9 million toward the total project cost. The application described the planned improvements:
Facilitating two Amtrak Inland Route daily round trips as a first phase of corridor improvements that improve connections within Massachusetts between Boston, Worcester, and Springfield and to communities beyond the Commonwealth in Connecticut and New York City. In addition to the two new daily trains, travel times will be improved for the existing Amtrak Lake Shore Limited, enhancing connections from Eastern Massachusetts to Pittsfield, Albany, NY, and other upstate New York communities.
Increasing operational efficiency and flexibility by reducing passenger and freight train conflicts and reducing travel times along the remaining single-track segments on the CSX-owned segment between Worcester and Springfield. These improvements are a necessary first step for increasing train frequency and speed along the Inland Route Corridor and the corridor between Boston and Albany, NY.
Including infrastructure improvements that result in increased train speeds and additional corridor capacity along the 53-mile section of the CSX Boston & Albany (B&A) Line between Worcester and Springfield. The extension of existing passing siding capacity and other track improvements will increase the Maximum Authorized Speed (MAS) to 80 mph and minimize train delays along the 44-mile single-track segment. In addition, a siding will be constructed in Grafton, MA that will improve the efficiency and capacity of freight interchange with Grafton & Upton Railroad while also minimizing the freight impacts to passenger operations.
In 2022, MassDOT announced that the Biden Administration had awarded almost $1.8 million to the state through the CRISI program for preliminary engineering and environmental review for investments to improve rail infrastructure, enhance safety and operational flexibility, and increase train capacity in Western Massachusetts near Springfield Union Station. MassDOT is providing a 50 percent match. These investments will support the Amtrak Springfield Line, the CSX Boston Albany Line, and small segments of the former Armory Branch and Knowledge Corridor. Improvements to be made with the funding also complement the investments outlined in the CRISI grant just won for projects planned under the “Connecting the Commonwealth: Early Actions for the Inland Route Project.” Since the projects with CRISI funding improve the rail corridor in Western Massachusetts, the investments also support any new future West-East passenger rail service between Albany and Boston.
MassDOT continues to seek additional financial resources to grow its passenger rail program. Currently, MassDOT is awaiting decisions on two applications for funding under the Federal Railroad Administration’s Corridor ID Program to fund updates to service plans for the Inland Route and the Boston-Albany Corridors which will ensure eligibility for future federal funding.
The CRISI award and additional requests for passenger rail funding are part of the Healey-Driscoll Administration’s whole of government strategy to compete for federal money that has included applications for more than $2 billion dollars to advance infrastructure projects that further equity, competitiveness, workforce development and climate resiliency in communities across Massachusetts. The approach has already brought in over $150 million in federal dollars to the Commonwealth in recent weeks, with additional funding still pending the decision of federal agencies.