While hopes for a high-speed rail line connecting California cities seem to be on life support, New England could be the new home of a high-speed rail line. Even though Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) faces a $161 million budget deficit this year and another $100 million budget deficit next year, this project is getting more attention and support.
Amid the financial chaos of the MBTA, some people in Massachusetts (MA) still want rail expansion, and high-speed rail at that. Three public meetings have been held on the issue and it seems that the people want it. The high speed rail would run from New Haven, CT, stop along the way to Hartford, and then make local stops all the way to Springfield, MA.
The high-speed rail project would increase the number of daily trains between New Haven CT and Hartford CT from 6 trains to 17 trains with the goal of running 25 trains each day along a 62 mile route. The 62 mile corridor between New Haven and Springfieldis owned and operated by The National Railroad Passenger Corporation (Amtrak).
If the high speed rail project gets approval later phases of the project would include new stations in North Haven, Newington, West Hartford and Enfield. Eventually, the high-speed rail line would encompass stops across all
America is behind most other first world nations in the high speed rail department. Arguably, the major efforts to get a high speed rail system in place in the US have been focused on California and the Central Valley project, despite a serious lack of money and an established ridership. Supporters of a high-speed rail system in California claim that the project will immediately create thousands of jobs and spur growth in businesses that directly and indirectly support the project, while those against the project ask how can we, as an economically bankrupt state, undertake a project like this in the current economy?
The fiscal strength of the New England states, however, is much stronger than than that of California, which faces a $16 billion budget deficit. As I already mentioned, the MBTA is facing a serious budget shortfall, though Connecticut recently closed its own budget deficit. Congress also recently approved the Northern New England corridor as one that could eventually support high-speed rail all the way from Boston to Montreal, Canada.
Furthermore, the New England corridor is the only one with an established, and profitable ridership. Record ridership levels have been recorded as gas prices go up, with public transit use across America rising to levels not seen since 1957. With multiple states and countries working on this high-speed rail project together, it might stand a better chance of coming to fruition that California’s bungled and expensive plans.
Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison