State submits applications for federal stimulus grants to improve water and rail transportation infrastructure
BOSTON - Friday, September 18, 2009 - As part of Governor Deval Patrick's Massachusetts Recovery Plan to secure the state's economic future, Office of Infrastructure Investment Director Jeffrey Simon today announced that Massachusetts has applied for nearly $300 million in federal stimulus grants for major transportation infrastructure projects throughout the Commonwealth.
The four proposals, including a state-of-the-art transportation hub in New Bedford , bus route upgrades to one of the busiest bus routes in the state, and pier improvements both on the Boston Harbor Islands and in Boston, were submitted to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) Discretionary Grant program. These funds will stimulate economic activity while bringing much needed improvements to existing infrastructure.
"Today we continue to ensure that Massachusetts is taking full advantage of all potential ARRA funding sources in the critical area of transportation infrastructure," said Jeffrey Simon, Director of Infrastructure Investment.
The Executive Office of Transportation (EOT) submitted two TIGER proposals. A $71.4 million proposal would construct the Whale's Tooth intermodal transportation center in New Bedford, which will integrate local bus services and shuttles, the Fast Ferry service to Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard, and regional passenger rail. The green building will house the New Bedford Career Center - a One Stop center that provides workforce development services - as well as provide additional space that will be programmed to meet community health, daycare or education needs. The Whale's Tooth intermodal transportation center represents the first phase of the highly anticipated $1.4 billion South Coast Rail project
EOT has also submitted a $146.5 million proposal for the 28X rapid transit project in Mattapan. This project will provide significant improvements on the No. 28 bus route along Blue Hill Avenue, including roadway improvements, off-board fare collection systems, and passenger warming stations, to increase efficiency and offer a new level of reliability and service in neighborhoods where many residents rely solely on public transit.
This effort will benefit an estimated 12,000 bus riders per day and provide new construction-related employment, increase mobility for residents to reach jobs throughout the Boston area, improve transportation options for workers and patrons of small and locally-owned businesses along the corridor, and encourage new economic growth in the business districts throughout the area.
"Across the state we are aggressively seeking every opportunity possible to invest transportation recovery funds in projects that will improve public transit access, spark economic development and strengthen our communities," said Executive Office of Transportation Secretary James Aloisi.
The Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has also submitted two TIGER proposals, including $25.6 million for the Boston Harbor Islands Water Transportation Infrastructure Improvement Project. The project will rehabilitate piers and docking facilities serving the Boston Harbor Islands, facilitating water travel to and between the 34 islands that comprise the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. A new pier at Georges Island will provide a new entry-point for the most-visited Harbor Island. Other improvements will include a new shade shelter and a renewable energy system, which will be run in cooperation with the nonprofit Boston Harbor Islands Alliance. Peddocks and Lovells, Grape, and Bumpkin islands will also get pier upgrades to floating deck, gangway, and ramp systems to improve service and meet accessibility standards.
DCR has also applied for $50.6 million for the Gateway to Coastal Massachusetts Project. This funding will be used to replace existing port infrastructure to create and establish a new network for water transportation for both commuters and tourists between Boston, Quincy and other seaside communities along the coast of Massachusetts. New ADA-compliant piers at University of Massachusetts Boston, Frazier State Pier in Plymouth, and Town Wharf in Wellfleet will support future tourist and commuter ferry service.
"Boston Harbor is an extraordinary transportation resource," said DCR Commissioner Richard K. Sullivan Jr. "These two projects will increase and enhance the opportunities for traveling through and around the harbor for commuters, tourists, and vacationers alike."