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Massachusetts House Endorses East-West Rail Study

An Amtrak train arrives at the station in Hartford, CT.

An amendment passed by the Massachusetts House as part of the proposed state budget would authorize a study of high-speed rail between Boston and Springfield.

The amendment, sponsored by Rep. Peter Kocut of Northampton, would create a special committee, or working group, to determine what needs to be done, and what it would cost, to get high-speed passenger trains running between the eastern and western parts of the state.

The idea has a lot support in western Massachusetts, including from Congressman Richard Neal.

" I am going to push hard for the idea of regional equity and making sure that rail is improved from Worcester to Springfield and on to Pittsfield," said Neal.

  State Senator Eric Lesser said he will propose a similar amendment to study east-west rail when the Senate takes up the state budget later this spring.

Paul Tuthill is WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief. He’s been covering news, everything from politics and government corruption to natural disasters and the arts, in western Massachusetts since 2007. Before joining WAMC, Paul was a reporter and anchor at WRKO in Boston. He was news director for more than a decade at WTAG in Worcester. Paul has won more than two dozen Associated Press Broadcast Awards. He won an Edward R. Murrow award for reporting on veterans’ healthcare for WAMC in 2011. Born and raised in western New York, Paul did his first radio reporting while he was a student at the University of Rochester.