Despite not receiving funding from the federal government, SouthCoast Rail remains cautiously optimistic with their plan to move forward on a commuter rail connecting Fall River and New Bedford to Boston.

Despite not receiving funding from the federal government, SouthCoast Rail remains cautiously optimistic with their plan to move forward on a commuter rail connecting Fall River and New Bedford to Boston.

“The project was never dependent on stimulus money,” said SouthCoast Rail Director Kristina Egan. “We are continuing to apply for grants. We are leaving no stone unturned.”

The White House announced $8 billion in funding Thursday, including money for intercity bullet trains in California and Florida. Massachusetts’ $1.9 billion application to fund SouthCoast Rail was not included in this round of stimulus projects.  

Massachusetts received $70 million for the Knowledge Corridor project to connect Springfield, Northampton and Greenfield as part of $160 million awarded to Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to improve rail service from New Haven to Springfield and St. Albans. In total, $485 million was awarded for improvements to the Northeast corridor.

“I was thrilled to see the New England region did so well,” said Egan. “SouthCoast Rail is part of that vision. This gives us a foot in the door for future funding.”

Egan said SouthCoast Rail will focus its attention on buying railroad properties that are included in the project. Egan said they hope to achieve that milestone by late spring.
“We are going full steam ahead,” said Egan.

E-mail Herald News writer Derek Vital at dvital@heraldnews.com.