Dear Editor, 

I wonder if Scott Van Voorhis (“North-South Rail Link Reminiscent of the Big Dig”) attended MassDot’s meeting on June 21 at which they presented the findings of a feasibility study of the North-South Rail Link. It predicted a high price tag, but no traffic nightmare as Van Voorhis’s sub-head indicated. 

I did attend that meeting. I came away saddened by the report, which appeared to rely on outdated equipment, old methods and a startling lack of understanding of how bad Boston’s transportation woes are at this moment. It was unworthy of MassDot and insulting to Massachusetts citizens. 

Two examples: the report showed a picture of a locomotive they presumably intend to use. It was out of the 1950s. Is this what MassDot believes is appropriate for trains these days? 

Then they kept talking about diesel engines. Are we really planning for the future using diesel, when every other rail project in the world is going electric? It was bizarre. 

Members of the audience seemed more up to date with information than did our transportation officials. 

I do expect that the rail link will be expensive. Every transformative project is expensive. Van Voorhis brings up that tired cliché of how much the Big Dig cost. 

Yes, it did cost a bundle. And it was worth every penny. Whenever I walk along the Greenway, drive over that beautiful new bridge or go to our favorite Mexican restaurant in the Seaport District, I am grateful for the Big Dig. It re-made Boston into a new city that offers us a better quality of life and has driven vast development all along its length. It is one of the most important factors in fostering our flourishing economy. We would not be in the enviable position we are in today with only the old tunnels and the overhead disaster of a roadway. 

Brains were not on display at the MassDot meeting, but we brag about how our region is full of them. You’d think we could figure out how to make this important rail link happen. 


Karen Cord Taylor was the founder of and is currently a columnist for several Boston neighborhood weekly newspapers. 

A Reader Responds in Support of the Rail Link

by Banker & Tradesman time to read: 1 min