fb-pixel Skip to main content

‘An obvious project that we’ve just got to do’

Former Governor Michael Dukakis with reporters in 2019, before a City Council hearing on the proposed North-South Rail Link.Erin Clark for The Boston Globe
Heather Hopp-Bruce

The North-South rail link is the most transformative infrastructure project that you can imagine for Greater Boston and for Massachusetts. We’re located on a 457-mile rail corridor stretching from Washington, D.C., to Portland, Maine, and there’s a one-mile gap in the middle of it, between North and South stations. That gap has to be closed, and now is the time to do it, no question. It would finally give us a first-class and faster Northeast rail system. And there have been estimates that closing this gap would take 60,000 cars off the road each day. In 2018, the Manhattan Institute — a conservative think tank — named this link one of the 10 major infrastructure projects that ought to be built in the United States. We’ve seen polls indicating that over 80 percent of the people in Greater Boston support the rail link.


Many years ago, I left New England to go to school at Swarthmore, and in those days, Philadelphia had the same problem that we have. If I wanted to come home to Boston, I would take the suburban train from Swarthmore to Philly, and then I had to grab my bag and walk at least half a mile to connect with the New York-Boston train. And in the 1980s, Philly decided to eliminate their gap. This is an obvious project that we’ve just got to do.

Michael Dukakis, professor emeritus of political science at Northeastern University, was governor of Massachusetts from 1975 to 1979 and from 1983 to 1991. Miles Howard is a freelance journalist in Boston.