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North vs. South: the Battle Over South Station

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The expansion of South Station is a ways off and subject to change a lot—basically, it centers around boosting capacity, for both trains and people, and expanding into a mail facility off Dorchester Avenue—but it's already started to draw heat.

Two main lines of opposition are forming. One line is sweating the potential cost of the expansion, which is now tossed around as $850,000,000; but it's such early days that that number could easily swell. The other line of opposition sees a connection to North Station as a sounder option for alleviating regional capacity and commuter issues than expanding South Station. "The north side is getting cheated by this project and I think over the coming months and years, before this ever gets done, the opposition is only going to grow," as one wonk put it a state hearing on Monday.

Still, there's no getting around South Station when it comes to the hub causing congestion along Amtrak's Northeast corridor or even regionally, with commuter rails. One MassDOT official called it "a major chokepoint," adding, "It has a lot of residual effects on job growth in Boston, on economic development along the corridors of the trains served, along what could actually be here at this station."

What's next? More studies and hearings. It will be at least 12 months before the expansion of South Station approaches anything near a groundbreaking. Best to get the arguments started early, though. It's Boston development, after all.
· Opponents Try to Derail $850M South Station Expansion Plan [Herald]
· State to Soon Launch $43M Planning Effort []

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