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Globe: New Rail Plan Too Costly to Construct

`20starts - New MBTA commuter rail locomotive at North Station with flag decal. (Susanna Hey, MBTA)
`20starts - New MBTA commuter rail locomotive at North Station with flag decal. (Susanna Hey, MBTA)Susanna Hey, MBTA

Plans for a new Allston MBTA station that would provide speedy service downtown have been scrapped due to budget limitations, according to The Boston Globe. The new commuter rail line, tentatively named West Station, would connect Allston, Cambridge and downtown Boston.

The plan would allow for extra stops on the Worcester line and enable commuters to travel from South Station or Back Bay to Allston much faster than they can now.

But it looks like they wont be able to any time soon.

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The Massachusetts Department of Transportation confirmed May 21 that the cost of the plans are not part of the agency’s $260 million budget. West Station was introduced as part of MassDOT’s “Vision for the MBTA in 2024” map in January.

The rail plan would have been constructed as a part of the Massachusetts Turnpike realignment project, which is affecting the Massachusetts Turnpike, Soldiers Field Road, and a Harvard-owned Allston railyard.

“Long term, the MassDOT Capital Investment Plan does envision a station in this area in the future,” said Mike Verseckes, MassDOT spokesman. “However, at this time, there is no funding specifically designated for construction.”

The Boston Globe reported that MassDOT officials are rushing to complete as much of the alignment project as they can before Governor Deval Patrick leaves office at the end of this year, anticipating a governor less willing to continue large, expensive construction projects. With the West Station plans now on the back burner, some fear the plans will never become a reality.

“If you’re going to spend a ton of money and do a whole lot of construction, and disrupt traffic patterns, let’s do it all at once,” said Jessica Robertson, a member of the Allston Interchange Task Force. “Let’s really, truly make this a multimodal project and improve things for everybody at the same time.”

The Allston Interchange Task Force is made up of local residents and business owners, and will meet again to discuss the project on June 11.

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