(AP) The city of Boston, Massachusetts, and a local commuter rail company say they’re working on ways to cut the cost of running commuter rail trains in the Boston area.
The mayors of Portland and Portland, Oregon, have said they’d consider extending the trains’ service from Portland to Boston.
In a joint statement Monday, the mayors said that they’re exploring ways to reduce rail ridership by about 20 percent, and that they would work with state transportation officials to determine ways to do that.
The mayors said they’re looking to expand the service by using a hybrid, low-cost commuter rail called the “bipartisan rail” that uses Amtrak’s existing network and trains in other cities.
The commuter rail is cheaper to operate than the rail trains that run on commuter rail.
The Boston mayors’ statement came hours after the mayors of Philadelphia and Philadelphia, a major commuter rail corridor, said they would seek federal funding to extend their rail service.
The cities said they have been considering a hybrid commuter rail for several years and said that their new commuter rail plan will include new stations and improvements to the existing system.
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said in the statement that the mayors would work to expand passenger rail service by expanding the service from the commuter rail to Amtrak, a train that currently runs between New York and Boston, which has the largest population in the country.
The two mayors said the new rail system would have to compete with more expensive commuter rail and that the two mayors’ plans were in line with their experience and priorities.
“The mayors of Boston and Portland want to extend the rail service to Boston, but Amtrak already operates a substantial portion of the route, which is why we are proposing a hybrid that uses existing commuter rail, and our plans are based on that,” the mayors’ joint statement said.
“Our goal is to get as many people as possible using our service, and to do so without cutting into our current ridership.”
The mayors’ comments come a week after the governors of Pennsylvania and Maryland called for the federal government to consider expanding Amtrak service from their state.
The governors said that Amtrak is “a vital transportation and infrastructure investment for our state.”