By Gabrielle Gurley
Bay State transportation officials continue to throw everything they’ve got into
South Coast Rail
, but the feds took a pass, deciding that three western New England intercity rail projects were more worthy.
Connecticut landed $40 million to build a second set of tracks between
New Haven, Hartford and through to Springfield
. Along with speeding up Amtrak’s
route, that fistful of dollars helps advance a commuter rail project overshadowed by state officials’ preoccupation with the New Bedford-Fall River-Boston line. Springfield area commuter rail advocates have long argued that dialing up service way out west, especially through the “
,” would be just as vital and cost much less, tens of millions versus more than a billion for South Coast Rail.
Massachusetts did reel in $70 million for stations, rails, and signals on a more direct Connecticut River Valley route. Back on track is train service to Holyoke and Northampton. Greenfield is a big winner, gaining its first ever station stop. But Amherst is the bigger loser. Its station will shut down, since the stop had only been set up as a way around the crumbling original route. Vermont also gets $50 million to beef up its bridges and tracks. (A complete list of high speed rail grant winners is