SECTION 1. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation shall conduct a feasibility study relative to high-speed rail access between the cities of Pittsfield and Boston via Springfield.
The study shall examine and evaluate the costs and economic opportunities related to establishing high-speed rail service between the cities of Pittsfield and Boston via Springfield, including, but not limited to: (i) the projected capital costs; (ii) the projected operating costs and revenue estimates; (iii) the projected ridership levels; (iv) the prospect of operating high-speed rail service on existing rights of way and other operational issues, including upgrades to the at-grade crossings in the towns of Ashland and Framingham; (v) the environmental and community impact estimates; (vi) the availability of federal, state, local and private sector funding sources; and (vii) the resulting economic, social and cultural benefits to Western Massachusetts, the greater Springfield region, and the Commonwealth as a whole.
The department shall file the report with the clerks of the house and senate, the chairs of the house and senate committees on ways and means and the senate and house chairs of the joint committee on transportation not later than December 1, 2019.
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