BOSTON — Senate Assistant Majority Leader and Rules Chairman Mark C. Montigny (D-New Bedford) has been notified by Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack that MassDOT has filed a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Report (DSEIR) for Phase I commuter rail service to New Bedford.

This latest filing is a key requirement necessary towards obtaining full design, permitting and construction of the project. Phase 1 service from New Bedford to Boston through Middleborough will seek immediate permitting and construction in the Southern Triangle while the Full Build Stoughton corridor is being developed for South Coast Rail. The DSEIR contains crucial details about the project including, cost, construction timeframes, ridership and train schedules.

In 1994, Montigny secured the first $3.5M for the project to conduct an initial environmental assessment. In 1997, Montigny passed legislation directing the MBTA to design, permit, and construct commuter rail track in the Southern Triangle from New Bedford to Taunton for $136 million. As Chairman of the influential Committee on Ways and Means in 2000, Montigny again passed legislation calling for the design, permitting and construction of rail line. Since 2008, he has help lead legislative efforts to secure additional state bond authorizations to fund the project.

According to the DSEIR that will be released publicly this Thursday, Phase 1 service from New Bedford to South Station will take approximately 91 minutes with a total of 7 round trips per day. The total cost of the project is estimated at $935 million with construction tentatively scheduled to begin in the middle of 2019. Service would be operational by November 2022.

“Since day one my priority has been immediate construction in the Southern Triangle to finally connect New Bedford to South Station via commuter rail,” said Senator Montigny. “I am pleased to see Governor Baker and his administration have prioritized rail access to New Bedford and are making progress. Several hurdles remain before we can finally rest assured that construction can commence and be completed in time for hardworking taxpayers and commuters to board a train in 2022, but today is a major step in the right direction.”

The DSEIR is the latest development in the phased approach adopted by the Baker Administration to implement existing state law passed by Senator Montigny that calls for the permitting and construction of the rail south of the so-called Cotley Junction. Below are several key Montigny measures signed into law by the Governor, emphasizing the need to commit key resources to the South Coast:

Chapter 303 of 2008

Line Item 6001-0804….. provided further, that not less than $30,000,000 shall be expended for the South Coast Rail Initiative; provided further, that notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the authority may expend funds authorized in this act and additional funds as previously authorized including, but not limited to, the amounts appropriated in item 6005-9906 of section 2 of chapter 125 of the acts of 2000 for the design, permitting and construction of the South Coast Rail line for the area south of Cotley Junction;

Chapter 125 of 2000, Section 14

SECTION 14. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority shall use an extension of the Stoughton commuter rail route through the municipalities of Stoughton, Easton, Raynham and Taunton in order to provide commuter rail service to New Bedford and Fall River. Notwithstanding the provisions of any general or special law to the contrary, said authority may expend funds, including but not limited to the amounts appropriated in item 6005-9906 of section 2 for the design, permitting and construction of said rail line for the area south of the site known as Cotley Junction.

Chapter 11 of 1997, Section 91

SECTION 91. For the purpose of furthering the extension of commuter rail to New Bedford and Fall River, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority is hereby directed, as authorized in section 2J of chapter 205 of the acts of 1996, to begin, in calendar year 1997, the design and permitting of those portions of track which extend from the city of New Bedford to Myricks junction, so-called, in the town of Berkley, and from the city of Fall River to said Myricks junction in said town of Berkley.

--Sen. Montigny's Office