Boston (September 22, 2023) – Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Representatives Jim McGovern (MA-02) and Richard Neal (MA-01) today joined the Healey administration in celebrating $108 million from the Department of Transportation (DOT), under its Fiscal Year 2022 Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) grant program, for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) to build capacity for eventual East-West passenger train service running through Boston, Worcester, and Western Massachusetts.

Specifically, the project will improve railway infrastructure, including tracks, signals, grade crossings, and bridges along the Inland Route Corridor. In addition, the project will increase Amtrak Lake Shore Limited’s capacity to make daily round trips at higher speeds to enhance not only travel times but also connections between Eastern Massachusetts and Upstate New York.

“From Boston to Springfield to Pittsfield, railways serve as an essential and green mode of transportation—connecting our Commonwealth and our communities,” said Senator Markey. “I applaud the Department of Transportation for heeding our calls to provide $108 million in federal funding so that communities in central and western Massachusetts can have efficient, safe, and reliable rail service. As a member of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, I will continue to advocate for safer, more expansive railway infrastructure to make sure our Commonwealth’s trains stay on track.”

“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. 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,” said Governor Maura Healey.

“Passenger rail will be a game-changer for Central and Western Massachusetts, and this $108 million national grant makes a significant stride toward turning the East-West rail plan into a reality,” said Senator Warren. “These much-needed investments in transit are one of my top priorities, and made possible by President Biden’s leadership on infrastructure and thanks to Governor Healey’s focus on securing federal funds. I’ll continue working hard to build a 21st Century transportation system that connects all of Massachusetts.”

“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 Representative McGovern. “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.”

“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. 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,” said Representative Neal. “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 Massachusetts. 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.”

“We are grateful to our congressional delegation for helping us secure this CRISI funding. 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,” said Acting Transportation Secretary and CEO Monica Tibbits-Nutt.

Senator Markey is a long-time advocate for comprehensive funding for the construction of the East-West passenger train service. In February 2023, the Massachusetts congressional delegation celebrated more than $550 million in federal funding through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) programs in the 2023 fiscal year to strengthen public transit across the Commonwealth. In April 2022, Senators Markey and Warren celebrated a $537 million investment, through the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act (IIJA), to provide Massachusetts with critical resources to upgrade the MBTA and regional transit systems, modernize fleets, cars and buses, and improve the resiliency of existing transit infrastructure.