Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Massachusetts senator takes whistle-stop tour to rally support for HSR

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Massachusetts State Sen. Eric Lesser speaks in Boston during his tour to garner support for a high-speed rail link between Boston and Springfield, Mass. Massachusetts State Sen. Eric Lesser speaks in Boston during his tour to garner support for a high-speed rail link between Boston and Springfield, Mass. Office of Sen. Eric Lesser

A state senator from Massachusetts is tapping into a mode of public communication not seen since last century: The whistle-stop tour (but by car).

Sen. Eric Lesser (D-1-Hampden & Hampshire) went on the tour to rally support for his proposal to study the feasibility and economic benefits of a high-speed rail link between Springfield and Boston.

The one-day tour began in Boston on June 19 before moving on to stops in Framingham, Worcester, Palmer and concluding in Springfield.

In May, Sen. Lesser reintroduced his budget amendment in the Massachusetts State Senate to require the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to move forward with a feasibility study of Springfield-to-Boston high-speed rail. The same amendment passed both the House and Senate last year but was vetoed by Gov. Charlie Baker. Sen. Lesser has also taken his argument national, with a letter sent to the Trump Administration in January asking for the proposed high-speed line to be included in future infrastructure priority lists.

Why perform a whistle-stop tour mostly by car? As Sen. Lesser’s office explained, there is only one train per day between Boston and Springfield. Sen. Lesser did take a Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority train between Boston and Framingham.

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