Harvard University has upped its contribution to the potentially $100 million West Station commuter-rail stop over the Beacon Park rail yard in Allston to $58 million, nearly double what the school had been offering the state.
Why the increase? Because the Department of Transportation is talking about pushing the station’s opening to as late as 2040, and Harvard wants to speed up that timeline to as soon as the next decade.
The university owns some 130 acres around the future stop, which it is developing into a satellite campus.
Meanwhile, the state is straightening the Massachusetts Turnpike in the same area, a potentially $1 billion project that is part of the decision to maybe push back the station to 2040.
State officials are also concerned that it will be difficult to gauge demand for the stop until Harvard’s campus starts unfolding. Plus, the station is supposed to be a grand affair—including a bus terminal as well as rail links to North Station and Cambridge—that will itself take a while to open.
For now, Harvard’s increased funding might spur the station’s construction sooner (or at least that of scaled-down version that can hold the place of the grander hub).
Allston residents certainly want it, per the Globe’s Adam Vaccaro and Jon Chesto, and nearby Boston University might also pony up cash to fund it. Stay tuned.