Hinds named to East-West Rail Study committee


Staff Writer
Published: 11/29/2018 11:30:52 PM

State Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield, will join the Project Advisory Committee for the East-West Passenger Rail Study, after an appointment by Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack. The Buckland native will serve as the western Massachusetts representative from Beacon Hill.

The east-west rail is intended to travel from Pittsfield to Springfield, going south through the southern hill towns.

Eventually, it will go from Springfield to Boston in, ideally, 90 minutes. This still all may be years away, but the first step is to go through a year-long study, which Hinds will be involved in.

“Having this study conducted during the course of the next year, it will really allow us to point to possible routes and stops that make sense,” Hinds said.

While the rail at this moment is not intended to go through West County and into Greenfield, it’s all connected in a greater sense, Hinds explained. With the Hartford passenger rail gearing up to begin servicing up to Greenfield more often, this will also provide an additional link for the region.

“An important part has been that we’ve always viewed linking the region with regional economic centers as a key objective for western Mass., but it’s also increasingly a win-win for the entire commonwealth,” Hinds said.

It’s possible Pittsfield won’t be the furthest west the east-west passenger rail will go either, Hinds hinted at. He said there are some logical steps to look further west to Albany.

“From this perspective, it seems intuitive,” to connect these “major economic centers,” he said.

“The exciting part about this moment in railroad transportation development in Massachusetts is we’re seeing a number of networks increasing their frequency and accessibility,” Hinds said.

Joining Hinds to represent western Mass. will be the Franklin Regional Council of Governments, the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission, the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority and the Governor’s Western Mass. Office. The mayor of Pittsfield, Linda Tyer, and U.S. Congressman Richard Neal, D-Springfield will also join the advisory committee.

You can reach Joshua Solomon at: jsolomon@recorder.com, 413-772-0261, ext. 264
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