For the second time in as many days, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker will be riding the rails.
After riding a commuter rail train Monday as the MBTA embarked upon a monthlong end-to-end shutdown of its Orange Line, Baker on Tuesday afternoon plans to hitch a ride with Amtrak between Boston and Springfield.
Riding with Baker will be U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, Secretary of Transportation Jamey Tesler, Amtrak CEO Stephen Gardner and MassDOT officials, and the plan is for Baker and others to speak with the press upon arrival at Springfield's Union Station at about 3:30 p.m.
Baker and Neal were together in Springfield in April to announce a breakthrough on efforts to offer passenger train service linking Springfield and Pittsfield with the eastern part of the state. At the time, Neal said the agreement would hinge on the Legislature using an infrastructure bond bill to create a new rail authority.
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Lawmakers didn't jump at the idea and the $11.3 billion bill (H 5151) that Baker recently signed creates a commission to study and take public comments on "public entities now in existence or that may be created by statute with the ability to design, permit, construct, operate and maintain" passenger rail expansion to Springfield and beyond. It also included $275 million that will go toward development of East-West Rail.
On Monday afternoon, Baker tweeted that he had taken a train on the Haverhill Line as the T faced its first workday commute with the entire Orange Line and a portion of the Green Line shut down for major maintenance work.
"Glad to report it was an on-time commute," the governor said.
Baker has made the MBTA a focus of his two terms in office, but has seldom used the public transportation system himself. In 2018, he said he views it as his job to make sure T riders "can have a reliable and predictable trip," but said using the T didn't work for him or his schedule because, "the governor is not a point-to-point person."