This week, reports Powers, Patrick will brief State House leaders and committee leaders on his plan for renovating South Station, as "legislators begin to debate the tax increases he has proposed" to pay for his ambitious state-wide transportation plan. In the century since it opened, the station's footprint, and number of departures, has been reduced. The expansion, which "has been discussed for decades," would add at least 7 new tracks to the station's exiting 13.
"There are vocal critics of a South Station expansion," notes Powers. "But on the governor’s lengthy list of what many view as pipe dreams and long shots, the South Station expansion is one being pushed hardest — and one that is considered more likely than most to succeed."
"The proposed expansion would allow new service options — such as trains to Worcester, the South Coast Rail to Fall River and New Bedford, and a railroad to Cape Cod. Rapid-transit service along commuter rail lines would also be possible," adds Powers.
"Kairos Shen, chief planner at the Boston Redevelopment Authority, said increased train service at South Station could help to increase economic activity in the neighborhood, increasing access to burgeoning business growth downtown and in the South Boston seaport district, while also making those areas a more attractive option for new businesses."
“This not [sic] an infrastructure project for an infrastructure project’s sake,” Shen said. “There are major benefits for the long-term competitiveness of the city.”