On the Trans Blog
Green Line Extension Public Hearing
The Green Line Extension project has taken the next step forward with submission of a draft environmental impact report and a public hearing scheduled for November in Somerville.
Andover Route 28 Reopens
Andover celebrated the grand reopening of a one-mile section of Route 28 along Main and North Main Street in downtown Andover. The $4.5 million project overseen by MassHighway reconstructed Route 28 from Stevens Street just south of the Shawsheen Plaza to Wheeler Street just north of the Phillips Academy. The project included roadway resurfacing, widening, sidewalk reconstruction, landscaping, traffic signal improvements and period lighting. Construction began in spring 2008.
RMV "Operation Yellow Blitz"
Registry of Motor Vehicle Inspectors and local police officers in 100 communities across the Commonwealth teamed up for the 5th annual "Operation Yellow Blitz", a joint undercover exercise to catch drivers who fail to stop for school buses that are picking up or dropping off student passengers.
The Road to Reform
Incoming MassDOT Secretary & CEO Jeffrey Mullan detailed the Patrick Administration's historic investments in rebuilding roads and bridges recently in remarks to the Construction Industries of Massachusetts.
Mullan told representatives of the construction industry that "since 2007 the Patrick Administration and legislature have made huge commitments to address our transportation assets, many of them old and requiring immediate attention."
Among the infrastructure investments in this federal fiscal year alone:
According to Mullan, "This is a record $1.1 billion invested in one federal fiscal year. Spending on these programs for the corresponding state fiscal year totaled $771 million, another record. That is why reform of our transportation system is so important- to form a unified transportation agency that will spend our infrastructure and operations dollars wisely."
Mullan Lists PrioritiesMullan told construction industry representatives that among his personal priorities for leading MassDOT going forward include honesty, organizational focus, and providing leadership.
Honesty"Until we get to the bottom of the issues we face – in an honest, open way, we will not be able to jointly solve them," said Mullan. "We have too many needs, too much debt, too much frustration among the electorate, and too much anxiety amongst our workforce, to approach it any other way."
Organization"Second, I will focus on the organization. We will show you how the organization works, who the key decision makers are, and how the system functions. I'll also work to identify talent in the organization that will be our next generation of leaders, and work to increase the ranks of our minority and woman employees in key positions."
Leadership"Transportation yearns for leadership – the kind of leadership that was demonstrated in getting transportation reform put in place. The blueprint is there. It is up to us to execute it."
Learn more about MassDOT by visiting the Information Center webpage.
Reform: Finance Agreements Saves Tollpayers Millions
After months of negotiations, Governor Deval Patrick announced that the Administration has reached agreement with financial institution UBS that will save the Commonwealth an estimated $71 million.
Due to five risky financial transactions - so-called "swaptions" - entered into by the Turnpike Authority in 2001, the Authority was at direct risk this year of having to pay UBS $261 million. Governor Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo passed historic transportation reform that improved the Authority's bond rating, negating the need to pay $190 million of that amount in July. While four of the five swaps were cured immediately, a fifth was at risk of being terminated by UBS, potentially costing the Commonwealth $71 million.
Under the terms of the deal negotiated by the Administration and signed with UBS, however, the July rating upgrade of the Turnpike Authority's MHS senior bonds to A- will be sufficient to prevent termination of the fifth swap.
The rating upgrades were a result of the sweeping transportation reform that called for consolidation of the state's fragmented transportation assets into a coordinated new entity called the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). Visit the MassDOT information center.
Major Step: Developing Parcel 7, Boston Fenway
Parcel 7 aerial The Massachusetts Turnpike Authority Board in its final official meeting approved significant changes to a development agreement that will speed the first phase of a major mixed-use project in Boston's Fenway neighborhood, which includes development of Air Rights "Parcel 7" over the Turnpike and adjacent Turnpike-owned land north of Beacon Street.
The new agreement with developers MK Parcel 7 Development LLC requires the developers to pay fair market value for all land and, for the Turnpike and its successor agency, MassDOT, to receive a share of operating income from air rights parcels during the two-phase development process.
The Parcel 7 development still requires final approval by state environmental officials. More and a Phase I site plan after the jump.
"This new agreement will jump start the land and air rights-based first phase of a signature development project in Boston, creating jobs, building affordable housing, and providing much-needed parking in the Longwood Medical area," said Transportation Secretary and Turnpike Authority Board Chair James Aloisi, Jr. "Few other projects have such vast economic development potential."
"This is what the new MassDOT will be all about- finding creative solutions to move transportation-related projects forward which will truly enhance neighborhoods while also protecting the interests of the taxpayers," said incoming MassDOT Secretary and CEO Jeffrey Mullan.
MassDOT Quick Fact
The Turnpike Authority, soon part of the MassDOT Highway Division:
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