Members of the TransitMatters advocacy group gave a very compelling presentation on Regional Rail last night at the library. Regional rail is their vision for frequent, reliable service on the commuter rail system with a fare structure to match the rest of the MBTA. They provided some very timely and smart advice. Here are some highlights:
- Electrification will improve service, help the environment, and save money
- Meanwhile, Regional Rail proposes incremental improvements to enable service every 30-60 minutes, all day
- Double-platform upgrades to the Newton stations are strategic for communities from Boston to Springfield
- Newton’s stations provide the key to mitigating Carmaggedon from the upcoming I-90 Allston project
It’s that last piece that seemed to get the most attention. The Mass Pike construction makes the Newton stations an urgent project and should justify the use of federal mitigation funds. This in turn can kickstart Regional Rail on the Framingham/Worcester line. Cancelling the ill-conceived South Station Expansion project would easily free up enough to fund the rest. The goal is four accessible Newton stations (including Newton Corner), 15-minute headways, and a $2.75 fare.
I’ll post a link to the video and presentation when it’s available.