On October 31, 2014, MassDOT submitted a Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the South
Station Expansion Project to the Massachusetts Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs. The
Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) outlines the process for public review of the DEIR. As part
of this review, the DEIR was noticed in the Environmental Monitor on November 5. MassDOT recognizes the
importance of this project, and the need to ensure thorough public review, and has therefore requested an
extended comment period of 49 days, ending on December 24, 2014. The Secretary of Energy and
Environmental Affairs will issue a MEPA Certificate by December 31, 2014. MassDOT welcomes comments
on the DEIR and encourages stakeholders and interested members of the public to attend the public hearing
and review and comment on the document.
The DEIR is the product of an 18 month planning and environmental review process. It responds to specific
issues identified in the Secretary’s Certificate on the Environmental Notification Form (ENF), which was
issued in April 2013, after a public hearing and comment period. The latest project fact sheet summarizes
the main conclusions of the DEIR.
The DEIR includes a summary and analysis of:
- Existing conditions at South Station today and conditions at South Station if no improvements were made in the future
- The proposed project alternatives, including three Build Alternatives at the South Station site: Transportation Improvements Only; Joint/Private Development Minimum Build; and Joint/Private Development Maximum Build
- Three potential layover facility sites, located at Widett Circle, Beacon Park Yard, and Readville-Yard 2.
The DEIR has been posted to the Documents page. Review the flyer (available in English and Chinese) to find library locations and learn how to provide comments.
MassDOT is simultaneously performing environmental review of the I-90 Allston Interchange Project, which
includes the Beacon Park Yard rail site and I-90 (the Massachusetts Turnpike). The Interchange project is
examining how to best realign the transportation assets in this area while also addressing significant
structural needs; highway operational changes (the arrival of All-Electronic Tolling); the construction of a
commuter rail station; and the introduction of significant off-road multimodal connections throughout the
area. MassDOT has determined that it is appropriate to consider these potential transportation changes
under a sile environmental review process. Therefore, MassDOT plans to review the Beacon Park Yard site as
a layover facility and future commuter rail station as part of the I-90 Allston Interchange Project’s
After the Secretary issues a Certificate on the South Station DEIR, MassDOT will continue to advance the
design and work toward a final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR). In addition, MassDOT will also be
preparing an Environmental Assessment (EA) under the federal National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
Both documents will include a public review process.
About The Project
Boston South Station is the premier passenger rail hub in New England. It serves passengers from the Northeast Corridor (NEC) and beyond, connecting them to local and intercity destinations. It is one of the most significant architectural structures in the City of Boston, and one of its most important transportation assets.
At present, South Station operates above its design capacity for efficient train operations and orderly passenger queuing. When it opened to the public in 1899, South Station had 28 tracks; that number is now 13, significantly constraining current and future rail mobility not only within Massachusetts but throughout New England and the NEC. South Station also lacks comfortable, modern facilities for passenger queuing, leaving riders standing in the elements as they wait to board their trains. In addition, South Station lacks sufficient ancillary vehicle storage capacity, constraining operations today and limiting future growth.
The objectives of the South Station High-Speed Intercity Passenger Rail Expansion and Layover Facility project are multiple, including:
- To perform an Alternatives Analysis to determine how best to expand Boston South Station and create a new layover facility in order to improve existing rail service – local, regional, and intercity – in and out of Boston. The expansion of South Station will include improvements to tracks, platforms, interlockings, passenger facilities, and other attendant infrastructure.
- To plan for the relocation of an existing U.S. Postal Service General Mail Facility in order to create an appropriate adjacent site onto which to expand Boston South Station.
- To plan and design an enhanced passenger environment at South Station through improved streetscape and pedestrian, bicycle, local transit, and vehicular facilities in and around South Station, including the re-opening of Dorchester Avenue for public use.
- To consider opportunities for joint public/private development over an expanded South Station.
Those actions will allow for the realization of the following benefits:
- To improve the performance of existing and future high-speed and intercity passenger rail service to and from Boston. Today’s NEC on-time performance is approximately 85% for Acela Express and 75% for Northeast Regional trains. The 2030 target for on-time performance is 95% for Acela Express and 90% for Northeast Regional. Without expanding South Station and its support facilities, not only will these targets be missed, but on-time performance will deteriorate even further in the future.
- To enable growth in high-speed and other intercity passenger rail service in the northeastern United States, at a time when both the roadway and aviation networks are at or over capacity.
- To support sustainable economic growth and improved quality of life in NEC metropolitan areas, including Boston.
- To support a more attractive and increased MBTA Commuter Rail service, with associated benefits such as increased statewide transportation access, environmental sustainability, and improved personal mobility.
MassDOT is committed to comprehensive and inclusive civic engagement as part of the South Station Expansion project. Please explore the website for additional information, and feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org the South Station Expansion Project Manager.