The Fiscal and Management Control Board of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation surprised many on Monday when, instead of discussing a proposed Middleboro route for Southcoast Rail, they decided to study the possibility of dedicated bus routes from Fall River and New Bedford to Boston.

Rob Mellion, President and CEO of the Fall River Area Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc., was in attendance at the meeting and told WBSM's Barry Richard that while this option has already been investigated most board members are recent appointees and don't realize that.

"This has been a debate that has had three to four different studies conducted over the last 25 years and most of these people are relatively new to the idea of Southcoast Rail and they lack the knowledge of those past studies," said Mellion.

What's more Mellion said that previous studies already highlighted difficulties with dedicated bus routes.

"If you look at those studies objectively you would recognize that you're not going to get anywhere with them due to the fact that they address ridership in a manner that you're going to have to put in significant financial upgrades into the system," said Mellion.

Mellion said that this decision was even more surprising because noone in attendance spoke out against the proposed Middleboro route.

"That was concerning that this just came from nowhere," said Mellion "and I think now we're going to have to push on advocacy to our elected officials to help us with this new element of red tape."

Mellion also criticized politicians who are still advocating for a Stoughton route with Mellion calling it "impractable" and saying that continuing to advocate for it makes rail service less and less likely.