South Coast Rail Milestone Could Help Future Cape Commuter Rail


HYANNIS -The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and the MBTA have announced that the South Coast Rail Program has reached two critical Phase 1 milestones.

A finance plan is complete and will be fully funded by the state and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has approved the final federal permit required for the program to advance.

Once complete, the program will allow for passenger rail service between Boston and Taunton, New Bedford and Fall River by late 2023.

Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority Administrator Tom Cahir believes that this program can help push forward plans to have a commuter rail spur from Middleboro to Buzzards Bay.

“This is good news that they’re seriously making headway because I think when they do get those issues resolved to those two major southeaster cities, it wouldn’t be that difficult to just send a train down to Buzzards Bay as well,” said Cahir.

Elements of Phase 1 of the South Coast Rail Program include extending the existing Middleborough Line service, reconstructing 17.3 miles of the New Bedford Main Line and construction six new stations.

Phase 1 is 100 percent funded by the Commonwealth through a combination of general obligation bonds and special obligation bonds to be issued under existing authorization for the Rail Enhancement Program.

“I think they finally came to an agreement that the route that they’ve planned for those two cities is now sort of etched in stone and that would require some activity in Lakeville and Middleboro,” said Cahir.

Early action steps for Phase 1 are currently underway, including infrastructure work and the acquisition of land for stations.


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