Two-stage bus rapid transit initiative will support economic growth, improve New England’s busiest bus corridor and connect key Boston neighborhoods
BOSTON – Monday, May 04, 2009 – As part of his Massachusetts Recovery Plan to secure the state’s economic future, Governor Deval Patrick joined Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Transportation Secretary James Aloisi today to announce federal stimulus funding to improve bus service along New England’s busiest bus corridor and in neighborhoods currently not served by rapid transit.
The two-stage bus rapid transit project will provide a direct Silver Line connection from Dudley Station to South Station in Boston this fall, and replace an existing heavily-used bus route from Mattapan to Ruggles Station with rapid transit bus service that will provide faster, more reliable service to tens of thousands of trips a day. The announcement comes after the recent announcement of the Patrick Administration “flexed” highway federal recovery funding to build a state-of-the-art regional transit center in Greenfield.
“With smart, strategic use of federal recovery funds we can bring rapid transit to some of Boston’s busiest bus routes, connecting key neighborhoods and delivering reliable service for tens of thousands of commuters who rely on the MBTA," said Governor Patrick.
“Improving and expanding our transportation infrastructure is critically important to our economy,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy P. Murray. “Projects like these will not only benefit commuters but also the businesses that count on reliable service for their employees.”
"I am proud to support this project because it will revitalize one of Boston's most important corridors and get shovels in the ground and people back to work," said Mayor Thomas Menino. "My administration is committed to helping the MBTA connect our neighborhoods more directly to Boston's financial district and creating more opportunities for our residents."
In the first stage of the initiative, the Executive Office of Transportation will use federal recovery funds to improve Silver Line service with a direct connection from Dudley Station to South Station, including the addition of dedicated bus lanes on Essex Street and a new, state-of-the-art street-level terminal at South Station with lighting, seating, heaters, and countdown signals to provide additional comfort to riders.
Concurrently, a mix of transit and highway federal recovery funds will also be used to enhance service along New England’s busiest bus corridor in the neighborhoods of Roxbury, Mattapan and Dorchester. The existing Route 28 bus line will be transformed into first-class bus rapid transit service from Mattapan Station on the Red Line to Ruggles Station on the Orange Line with a direct connection to the Silver Line. Additional station facilities will be located along Blue Hill Avenue in Mattapan and Dorchester, as well as along Warren Street in Roxbury.
This new state-of-the-art bus rapid transit line will also feature dedicated bus lanes, longer “articulated” diesel-hybrid buses, and innovative design and technology features like “queue jumping” (allowing buses to bypass lines at traffic signals) and traffic signal priority to speed up service and dramatically improve reliability. In addition, federal transit stimulus funds will be used to invest in several upgrades to the Dudley Square Station.
The two-stage bus rapid transit project is will cost approximately $114 million, but it could change as the specific design is more refined. Of the projected $114 million, $76 million is for construction and the remainder is for planning, engineering, right-of-way acquisition, and other administrative costs.
“The development of safe and efficient public transportation is a job-creator and an energy-saver,” said Senator Edward Kennedy. “This federal investment will mean increased access to downtown and faster commutes for thousands of Massachusetts workers and residents. I commend Governor Patrick for his efforts to ensure that public transportation in Boston and throughout Massachusetts is first-rate.”
“This means jobs and economic development in communities that need a boost,” said Senator John Kerry. “Faster, cleaner buses mean fewer harmful emissions and a better quality of life for the thousands of Boston residents who rely on public transportation for a safe, quick commute.”
"I am pleased that Governor Patrick is using stimulus funding to address the needs of these neighborhoods. When completed, each of these BRT projects will offer better transit to residents, increasing access to employment and other opportunities," said Congressman Mike Capuano.
“These federal stimulus funds will not only create jobs but will dramatically improve bus service, making commutes greener, more comfortable and more efficient for thousands of MBTA customers each day. This is a perfect example of how state and local government can utilize stimulus funds to put people back to work while investing in public transportation,” Congressman Stephen F. Lynch said.
“There were 10.7 billion trips on public transportation in 2008, and signs point to even greater use—and need—for mass transit in 2009. These funds will help reinvigorate vital public transit lines just as record numbers of people are choosing to take public transit. This funding is crucial to better mobility, cleaner air, and reduced traffic congestion for the people of Massachusetts,” said Congressman Edward J. Markey.
“We are using federal stimulus funds to make a real difference for people who depend on bus service every day, whether it’s for work, school or to get to a doctor’s appointment,” said Transportation Secretary James A. Aloisi, Jr. “With this forward-looking investment we can support economic growth, social justice and create better service for tens of thousands of riders.”
"This project builds on the tremendous success of the first phases of the Silver Line by expanding that high quality, reliable bus service," said MBTA General Manager Daniel A. Grabauskas. "This project will also create jobs now, and spur economic development throughout these neighborhoods of Boston."
"Throughout the Commonwealth we are using stimulus funding to create new jobs, fix our deteriorated highways, and support economic development and public transportation to build a better future for our communities," said Governor Patrick’s Director of Infrastructure Investment Jeffrey Simon. “In this way we can use short term dollars for long term economic investment.”
This transit investment is part of the Patrick Administration’s “You Move Massachusetts” civic engagement and transportation planning initiative, which included feedback from transit riders pleading for improvements to slow and unreliable bus service. Over the past few years, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has invested in a wide variety of initiatives to improve bus service, including a state-of-the-art control center and GPS tracking on buses to lessen the impact of delays on customers. The stimulus projects will build on those improvements with the “next generation” of bus service.
To learn more, visit: www.mass.gov/eot.