BOSTON (CBS) – A new poll shows an overwhelming majority of Massachusetts support major changes to the Commuter Rail. The MassINC survey also reveals the way residents would want to fund a rail expansion.

Three-quarters support moving the Commuter Rail toward a “regional” model with more frequent service to and from Boston. Seventy-six percent support extending the rail to Western Massachusetts and the South Coast, and 81% are in favor of building the “North South Rail Link.”

“Residents seem to appreciate the potential of this the rail system to do more than it does right now,” said Steve Koczela, President of The MassINC Polling Group, in a statement. “They see rail as part of the solution to other problems, too: congestion, climate, and economic development outside Boston.”

How would the state pay for it? Most of those polled do not want to see a fare increase for riders; in fact, half think fares are already too high and 58% support lowering fares and offering discounts. Additionally, a majority opposed asking drivers to pay more through parking fees, congestion charges or a higher gas tax.

What those polled did support were getting contributions from real estate development near rail stations, a tax on people making more than $1 million and other revenue-generating initiatives.

The poll surveyed nearly 1,500 Massachusetts voters.


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