TRANSIT: Mass. South Coast rail could cost $1 billion more than estimated

MBTA estimates a later project completion date in addition to the hikes in project costs

June 28, 2016
Mass. South Coast rail could cost $1 billion more than estimated

The proposed South Coast rail project in Massachusetts to extend commuter service to New Bedford and Fall River could cost $1 billion more than expected and take at least six years longer than scheduled to construct, state transportation officials revealed on Monday.

The long-discussed plan once had a price tag of $2.23 billion and a completion date of 2022. But consultants for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) now estimate it could cost between $3.3 billion and $3.42 billion and be finished between 2028 and 2030.

The increased costs and delays have officials weighing alternatives to the project, which was supposed to include 75 miles of track, new electrified locomotives, and 10 new stations.

Officials say the new estimate reflects the amount of time it would require to secure permits for the project, technology required by the federal government that would prevent crashes, and cost escalation from the delays, among other issues.

The current proposal would extend the existing Stoughton Line to both Fall River and New Bedford—spurring development along the way, according to supporters.

So far, MBTA has committed about $24 million to the project.