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Massachusetts Senate approves transportation bond bill

The Associated Press 

BOSTON -€” The Massachusetts Senate has approved a bill authorizing $13 billion in capital spending over the next five years to pay for upgrades to the state’s transportation system.

The bill includes $1.5 billion in spending over the next five years to fund local road and bridge projects.

The bill also hikes the penalties for MBTA fare evasion by raising fines to $100 for a first offense, $200 for a second offense and $600 for a third or subsequent offense.

The bill lets the state transportation department spend an additional $50 million in fiscal years 2014 and 2015 on snow and ice removal and dedicates $2.3 billion for South Coast rail improvements.

The legislation also includes $325 million for improvements to South Station and renames it the Gov. Michael S. Dukakis Transportation Center at South Station.

An MBTA train pulls into a stop on Commonweath Avenue near Boston University in Boston. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola) (Associated Press)

 

High-Speed Rail Is Definitely Green

Opponents of high-speed rail contend that it’s a boondoggle because of its $68 billion pricetag. But a recent UC Berkeley study provides evidence that a California bullet train might be a good investment, particularly when it comes to reducing greenhouse gases and fighting climate change.

The study, published recently in the journalEnvironmental Research Letters, was the result of two years of research by UC Berkeley civil and environmental engineering professor Arpad Horvath and Mikhail Chester, professor at Arizona State University’s School of Sustainable Engineering and The Built Environment. The study analyzed the environmental sustainability of a high-speed rail network compared to flying and driving. The authors concluded that the high-speed rail system, when it’s completed, will consume less energy and emit fewer greenhouse gases and less pollution than autos or planes, even after accounting for future improvements in auto and airplane fuel efficiency and cleaner, greener technology.

“We’re not only looking at greenhouse gases, we’re also considering things like the potential for smog formation as well as human health respiratory effects,” Chester said in an interview. “What we’ve found is that high-speed rail would be a cleaner mode.” {…}

 

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