Kairos Shen, chief planner at the Boston Redevelopment Authority, said increased train service at South Station could help to increase economic activity in the neighborhood, increasing access to burgeoning business growth downtown and in the South Boston seaport district, while also making those areas a more attractive option for new businesses. Dorchester Avenue would once again run all the way to Summer Street.
“This not an infrastructure project for an infrastructure project’s sake,” Shen said. “There are major benefits for the long-term competitiveness of the city.”
Still, there are critics.
At a meeting of Move Massachusetts on Friday morning, where Davey spoke about the specifics of the governor’s plan, some used their questions to criticize the state’s decision to hold off on building a north-south rail link that would connect South Station and North Station.
Hedlund said the idea of South Station expansion has been discussed for more than two decades, and he’s seen the need himself — trains racked with delays as they bottleneck at the South Station terminal.
In many ways, he said, he’s skeptical about the governor’s transportation plan — he called the South Coast Rail a “boondoggle” — and maintained that several of the items in the governor’s plan were political moves or gifts for the state.
But South Station, he says, feels more necessary than most other proposed projects.
“We’re going to have to have a debate, and if you don’t have that revenue, or if you only have a portion of that revenue, all these transportation projects will need to be prioritized,” he said.
“If we get into a situation where these things have to get prioritized, then there’s more of a likelihood of this getting done than Fall River-New Bedford [South Coast Rail].”