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 Secretary issued a MEPA Certificate on December 31, 2014. The Certificate defines the analysis MassDOT will undertake to complete a Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) on the project. The FEIR will include any changes to the project since the DEIR filing, select a preferred South Station design alternative, and incorporate the additional environmental analysis as outlined in the Certificate. 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.
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). MassDOT submitted an Environmental Notification Form to initiate project review in October 2014. The Secretary of Environmental Affairs determined that MassDOT will have to prepare an Environmental Impact Report and the I-90 Allston Interchange Certificate outlines the its scope of work. 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.
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.