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Will Boston Fix “Obsolete” Train Stations?

Boston’s South Station (Photo by Arnold Reinhold)

Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker met with two former governors, Michael Dukakis and William Weld, this week to talk about plans to build a tunnel between the city’s North and South train stations.

Boston radio station WBUR reports:

Currently, trains take half an hour to get in and out of South Station. If the trains were to travel through South Station, they could move out in minutes. An architect present in the meeting with the governors calls dead-end stations like North and South stations, conceived in the 19th century, obsolete technology.

The proposed fix would make commuting easier by allowing train passengers to connect to the subway in more than one place. It would also connect the train to the Blue Line. The connector would be a mile long with two or three stations. Estimated cost is between $2 billion and $4 billion.

Baker calls the plan interesting, but worries about the burden it will put on taxpayers. He also says that his first priority is to fix the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority, which left many commuters in the lurch during the last, record-breaking winter.

Weld and Dukakis believe the plan will pay for itself with maintenance savings and by attracting an estimated 96,000 commuters a day. Dukakis also pointed to other cities that have already or are currently connecting their train stations.

“Los Angeles, of all places, is building a downtown connector, rail underground connector, two miles, three stations, $1.4 billion,” he told WBUR.

There might not be a firm yes from the Governor, but he’s not ruling it out either.

“Obviously, in the larger context of economic development and regional planning, not just for the Boston area but for the rest of the Commonwealth, this is certainly something that’s worth considering as part of that,” he said.