East-West Rail Service has been talked about in the Berkshires for as long as most of us can remember. Now, we are starting to see some light at the end of the tunnel, but we are not quite there.

$66 Billion will go a long way...

President Biden signed into law on Monday what many would call, according to a Western Mass Rail Coalition press release, the most important piece of legislation in Amtrak’s history — the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. The group says that the legislation provides an unprecedented $66 billion in funding for passenger rail.

The legislation would eliminate the Amtrak maintenance backlog, replace and expand Amtrak’s fleet, and upgrade train stations and platforms across the country. The Act will also create new grant programs that would allow for new and expanded passenger rail corridors, such as East-West passenger rail in Massachusetts. 

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The Train Campaign, based in Great Barrington says the act does not tackle a key issue...

MassDOT’s proposal is a positive step for the Berkshires, but it doesn’t tackle a key issue for a county that is oriented towards New York City, and closely connected with Connecticut and upstate New York. The new rail authority should be regional, not bound by state lines, and should include representatives from Connecticut and New York, and possibly Vermont. Service to Boston should also go to Albany, and the authority should prioritize work on the Berkshire Line where there has already been substantial upgrade investment by MassDOT. ~ Karen Christensen, Berkshire Train Campaign Founder

A White Paper, released last Friday by MassDOT lays down important building blocks for East-West Passenger Rail. You can read the White Paper, HERE.

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Answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions

Vaccinations for COVID-19 began being administered in the U.S. on Dec. 14, 2020. The quick rollout came a little more than a year after the virus was first identified in November 2019. The impressive speed with which vaccines were developed has also left a lot of people with a lot of questions. The questions range from the practical—how will I get vaccinated?—to the scientific—how do these vaccines even work?

Keep reading to discover answers to 25 common COVID-19 vaccine questions.