It’s easy to be negative about the media. For me anyway. That’s mostly because I’m a contrarian living a contrary lifestyle and writing a blog thereon. So when I read a news item that inverts all my negative expectations it raises my hopes tremendously.
Not only is east-west rail up for a some serious study but connecting the valley from north to south is in the negotiation phase of actually being put in place in conjunction with the brand new Hartford Line of CT Rail! It only makes sense, but that’s the point.
Connecticut’s budgetary woes aren’t helped by the outlays required for the expansion of commuter rail from New Haven to Springfield. Obviously, if any part of the line needed to suffer cutbacks, the Massachusetts spur would come first. The Commonwealth coming up with some money to throw Connecticut’s way to run some extra trains north to Greenfield both gets the Bay State piece taken care of for less than if MassDOT had to put together the whole thing from scratch, (Keeping in mind that the newly renovated station in Springfield, the brand new station in Greenfield, the recently added platforms in Holyoke, and Northampton, and the modernized rails themselves have already been not only paid for but completed) and can reaffirm the Nutmeg State’s commitment to the program as it extends north of Hartford by making it worthwhile financially.
As I have written here on a number of occasions, as much as connecting to Boston would be beneficial, history and current data both demonstrate that Springfield is more closely related to Connecticut than greater Boston.
The icing on the cake of the article is the dismissive attitude of the state official to talk of expansion of highway exits on the turnpike. The state understands, I think, that encouraging sprawl in the Hilltowns would end up costing Massachusetts millions of dollars in infrastructure expansion, all the while negatively impacting both the rural and agricultural hinterlands and the urban areas, where billions have already been invested in infrastructure the use of which will not be maximized if the population decants to the hills.