DOT Awards $1B For Boston Rail Extension

The USDOT has awarded a $996 million federal grant to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority to extend its Green Line light rail services in Boston


What Happened?

The U.S. Department of Transportation has awarded a $996 million federal grant to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority to extend its Green Line light rail services in the Boston area.

Goal

The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has plans to build out its Green Line light rail service from East Cambridge to Somerville and Medford. The project is focused on increasing access to faster and more efficient public transit options for residents who work or live in the downtown Boston area.

The light rail line extension targets some of the most densely populated communities in Boston. The 4.7-mile Green Line light rail extension will provide service from East Cambridge to Somerville and Medford. These neighborhoods currently do not have access to rail transit despite 26 percent of residents not owning a car.

Officials expect the light rail line extension to provide 37,900 daily trips. The project will be completed by 2021 and include:

  • 6 new rail stations
  • 24 new light rail vehicles
  • A new vehicle maintenance facility
  • Community bicycle and pedestrian path in Somerville

By extending services along the Green Line rail, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority expects to not only shorten commuting times for local residents, but also connect Bostonians to more jobs, education and medical care opportunities. This, in turn, will strengthen the economic stability of residents.

The U.S. Department of Transportation will provide $996 million toward the project through the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grant Program. The entire project is estimated to cost $2.3 million, with Massachusetts covering any remaining costs.

Capital Investments Program

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Program provides grants to help fund major transit capital investments including:
  • Rapid rail
  • Light rail
  • Bus rapid transit
  • Commuter rail
  • Ferries

There are three types of Capital Investment Program grants available:

Each grant program calls for applicants to complete an environmental review process including selecting locally preferred alternatives and adopting the results into a long range transportation plan. Once that is complete, applicants must gain financial commitments from all other sources of funding as well as complete the necessary engineering and design phases of the project. When these requirements are met, the DOT will finalize a funding grant agreement.

The USDOT has recommended $2.5 billion be allocated toward Capital Investment Program grants across the country in 2015. The department would help advance the construction or completion of 26 rail, bus rapid transit and streetcar projects in 16 states. These projects would improve access to jobs in key communities, which will improve local economies and spur construction job growth.

The recommendations call for the completion of 10 transit projects that received federal funding in prior years, as well as eight new projects, including the Green Line extension in Boston.

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