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East-West Rail Study Derailed By Massachusetts Budget Negotiators

An Amtrak train arrives at the downtown Holyoke, MA rail platform

   The final state budget passed by the Massachusetts legislature did not contain funds to study high-speed rail between Boston and Springfield.

    The measure’s sponsor, Democratic Senator Eric Lesser, said he is very disappointed the study was removed by the six-member conference committee that put together the final budget during weeks of secret negotiations.

     "The Senate has now passed this item three years in a row on unanimous bipartisan votes, so I think the public should be frustrated about this and should begin to ask questions about how this got held up and why," Lesser said.

   Last year, Republican Gov. Charlie Baker vetoed the east-west rail study after lobbying by Peter Picknelly, owner of Peter Pan Bus Lines.

The record-setting tenure of Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno. The 2011 tornado and its recovery that remade the largest city in Western Massachusetts. The fallout from the deadly COVID outbreak at the Holyoke Soldiers Home. Those are just a few of the thousands and thousands of stories WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill has covered for WAMC in his nearly 17 years with the station.