Massachusetts has set itself apart by choosing to fund transportation projects that will have both short and long term economic impacts - investing in projects like a regional transit center, multi-use paths and park and ride lots that build stronger, healthier communities. The state has also focused, particularly in the second round of funding, on projects that will result in direct investment by the private sector. As such, ARRA funds are being invested in road, bridge and transit projects that will both create jobs today and provide long-term benefits for tomorrow.
In total, Massachusetts will invest $396 million in Recovery funds for highway and bridge projects, and another $358 million for projects to improve MBTA transit
As of September 30 th, 89 ARRA highway projects valued at $359 million are underway, including Assembly Square in Somerville, Route 7 improvements in Pittsfield, and the Route 24 exit ramp in Fall River, which will support economic growth and make long-awaited repairs in every corner of the Commonwealth. Another five projects valued at $19 million have been put out to bid and will be starting up in the next few months, bringing total ARRA highway funding to $378 million. In order to accelerate ARRA road and bridge construction, and put people to work faster, MassDOT took a 120-day advertising/bid/contract award process and reduced it to 44 days.
Of the $438 million for highway investments, MassDOT has also transferred almost $60 million in funding to the MBTA and regional transit authorities - to build a regional transit center, improve bus service, and construct a parking garage at the Wonderland Station transit center.
As of September 30 th, $165 million has already been expended and 15 of the highway projects are substantially completed. More than 14,000 people have worked on stimulus road and bridge projects throughout the state.
The MBTA has purchased 25 new hybrid buses for some of its most popular routes, placed 108 new RIDE vans in operation, provided direct Silver Line service between Dudley Station and South Station, and started work on 20 other transit projects.
In addition to its highway and transit funds, the state has also been approved for an additional $165 million of funding through competitive ARRA grant programs such as Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) and High-Speed Rail grants - including $70 million in federal rail grants for the Knowledge Corridor along the Connecticut River, $20 million for bridges along the South Coast Rail corridor, $55 million to extend the Fitchburg commuter rail line to a new Wachusett Station, and $20 million for a transit plaza at Wonderland Station. These projects will soon be underway.