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Massachusetts Department of Transporatation Massachusetts Bay Transporatation Authority
Northern New England Intercity Rail Initiative

Project Benefits

South Coast Rail is a transformative project. It has the potential to reconnect, revitalize and improve the quality of life for South Coast communities and the entire Commonwealth. Commuter rail will offer a time-saving and convenient new travel option for those coming and going to the South Coast area and address long-standing transportation inequity.

By encouraging smart growth, South Coast Rail will create social equity by allowing residents access to jobs, health care and other vital resources.

The project will also increase safety and alleviate highway congestion in the region.

It would take roughly 280 cars or 30 buses to accommodate the same number of seats in each commuter rail train!

South Coast Rail also provides an additional evacuation route in the case of a weather event, natural disaster or emergency – improving regional safety and environmental resiliency.

Economic Benefits

Fall River, New Bedford and Taunton are the only Gateway Cities within 50 miles of Boston without commuter rail, and they have some of the highest unemployment rates and lowest median incomes in the state. South Coast Rail will connect these communities to thousands of new job opportunities, a cheaper transportation option and affordable housing markets. Improved regional connectivity will stimulate economic activity, spur real estate development and improve property values, and result in household cost-savings, among other benefits.

For more information on these economic benefits, check out the South Coast Rail Economic Development and Land Use Corridor Plan and Chapter 4 of the Final Environmental Impact Statement/Final Environmental Impact Report.

Environmental Benefits

South Coast Rail will have many environmental benefits, from reduced emissions, fewer vehicle miles traveled, reductions in greenhouse gases, and open space preservation.

Smart growth strategies will help preserve the region's natural resources by protecting farms, forests, wetlands and fields from sprawling development. South Coast Rail will result in 10,000 fewer acres of open space consumed, including 6,000 acres of forest land. Regional planning agencies have been working with communities to identify areas best suited for protection, called Priority Protection Areas (PPAs), and areas conducive to development, called Priority Development Areas (PDAs).

For more information about environmental impacts and benefits, read about the environmental review process.

Freight Benefits

Currently, freight movement is restricted to speeds of 5 to 10 miles per hour due to the condition of the tracks. This project will help improve freight railroad efficiency by upgrading tracks to allow for increased speeds. Projects of independent utility, including the freight improvement program, are early construction projects that improve conditions for freight while preparing for South Coast Rail.

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