WBSM EXCLUSIVE: Baker Administration Expected To Pull Plug On South Coast Rail Project
Members of the regional legislative delegation will get an update on the South Coast Rail Project on Monday and multiple sources tell WBSM the news will likely not be good.
The Secretary of Transportation for the Commonwealth, Stephanie Pollack will meet on Monday morning with members of the area delegation to provide an update on the South Coast Rail project and it is widely expected that Pollack will say that funding for the project will not be included in a 20 year capitol Investment plan to be taken up later the same day by the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB). Friday's scheduled meeting of the South Coast Rail Task Force has been postponed until it is determined what action the FMCB takes on Monday.
WBSM has also been told by multiple sources that state transportation officials may be receptive to considering the so-called Middleborough route that could see commuter rail service from New Bedford and Fall River pass through Taunton and eastward to Middleborough before turning north on the existing Red Line through Bridgewater to Braintree. That alternative has been advocated by former Mayor Scott Lang for several years. The cost of that option would be a fraction of the estimated 2.3 billion dollars it would cost to run a new line through Stoughton. It's not clear if the state will embrace the idea but locals officials are being advised to advocate strongly for it.
Staggering MBTA debt and a crumbling transportation infrastructure has lead the Baker Administration to rethink it's transportation priorities and in recent days decisions have been made to repair and modernize the existing system rather than expand.