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On the Trans Blog
"Toys for Tots" Spread Holiday Cheer
The Hasbro Company has partnered with MassDOT to donate board games to the Massachusetts State Police Troop E "Toys for Tots" Holiday Fund.
New Bedford Artists Support Commuter Rail
Making the wish of a train come true on Williams Street in New Bedford on New Year's Eve is the creative idea behind a "walking train" float that will celebrate the beginning of 2010.
The Road to Reform
Transportation Fed Stimulus Boosts Rail, Housing
Governor Deval Patrick in separate visits to Lynnfield, Fitchburg, and Bellingham this week highlighted a total of four federal stimulus American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) projects providing a total of nearly $40 million in transportation funds to boost rail, economic development and housing projects. Learn more about the Massachusetts Recovery Plan.
The Governor joined Congressman John Tierney to announce that the state intends to use $5.9 million in federal stimulus ARRA funds for the Meadow Walk of Lynnfield economic development project. The funds, pending approval by the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), will provide critical traffic signal and intersection improvements in the area surrounding the Meadow Walk project, a 203-acre redevelopment of the former Colonial Golf Club site in Lynnfield.
The Meadow Walk at Lynnfield project will redevelop the former Colonial Golf Club site and build needed affordable housing, providing jobs and new tax revenue for the Lynnfield/Wakefield communities. The project supported by ARRA funding is scheduled for advertisement in January 2010, pending MPO approval.
By early 2010 Massachusetts will have allocated its entire $437.9 million allotment of ARRA highway funding with projects in the pipeline or already under construction.
Fed Stimulus: Fitchburg Commuter Rail Upgrade
In Fitchburg, the Governor joined Congressman John Olver and local elected officials in Leominster to announce the groundbreaking of the first rail improvement project in Massachusetts supported by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).
The $10.2 million ARRA investment will fund the first stage of the Fitchburg Commuter Rail Improvement Project that will improve speed, service and reliability on this important rail line. The projects, which include an additional $39 million in ARRA funding for double-tracking and $150 million in New Starts funding, will support the installation of new switches and signals as well as two new renovated stations and the reconstruction of existing track on the state's oldest commuter rail line. The installation of a new universal crossover at the Leominster location is part of the early work program of the overall Fitchburg Line program and will enhance both freight and commuter rail operations in the region.
The project will have immediate economic impacts and lay the groundwork for improvements to track capacity and service reliability. When complete, the Fitchburg Commuter Rail Line Improvement Project will provide modernized, state-of-the-art infrastructure allowing 80 mile-per-hour travel speeds along the line, up to 12% better on-time performance and reduced operating and maintenance costs.
Bellingham- Pulaski Boulevard
Governor Patrick with state and local officials in Bellingham announced a total of nearly $23 million in federal stimulus funds for two projects- rebuilding Pulaski Boulevard in Bellingham and 10 miles of nearby Route 146 from Uxbridge to Sutton. Both roads are important local and busy commuter routes.
The $13 million federal stimulus Bellingham project will reconstruct 2.2 miles of Pulaski Boulevard from Moody Street to the Franklin town line, including rehabilitation of the bridge over Peter's River. The project will improve safety and enhance convenience for motorists, including new pavement, a wider roadway, and improved traffic signals and pedestrian safety along the Boulevard, an important commuter route to I-495 in Franklin. A contractor is expected to be chosen in early 2010 with construction beginning in the spring.
The $9.9 million federal stimulus project will resurface and improve 10 miles of Route 146 from just north of the Chocolog Road interchange in Uxbridge through Northbridge and Douglas to the Sutton Town line. Route 146 is a key route that connects Providence, Rhode Island with Worcester. A bid advertisement is expected in January 2010 with construction beginning in the spring.
Secretary Mullan: Finding Visitor Centers Closing Solutions
Recognizing that the Visitor Information Centers play an important role in area tourism and commuter convenience, MassDOT intends to work with the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) as well as our partners at MOTT to assist in the search for short term and longer term solutions to this matter.
The reduction in state funding for the Commonwealth's Regional Tourism Councils led to the Councils' decisions to close the following Visitor Information Centers:
In addition, the Greenfield Visitor Information Center on I-91 is scheduled to close on February 1st and is actively searching for funding alternatives.
While MassDOT does not operate the Visitors Information Centers, we do own the buildings and support the basic maintenance of these Centers in areas such as cleaning and trash removal.
We understand that the Visitors Information Centers provide an important service for travelers, and we are working with our state partners, Regional Tourism Councils and local Chambers of Commerce representatives on potential solutions.
As an immediate, short-term solution, temporary restrooms that are wheelchair accessible are being installed during the holiday travel season through January 4, 2010 in areas with high traffic volume. Temporary restrooms are already onsite in Salisbury and Chelmsford, and the MassDOT vendor will be responsible for daily cleaning and disposal. Our intention is to maintain a minimum level of service and convenience to the commuting public - where possible and as funding may allow - while working toward a resolution with the affected organizations.
Over the long term, MassDOT and MOTT will explore the potential for a public-private partnership for these closed locations. Working in cooperation with MOTT and the Regional Tourism Councils whose funding was impacted, we plan to engage with Federal Highway officials to discuss our options and look to bring forward a Private Partnership Request for Proposals in the New Year.
MassDOT Board 2010 Public Meeting Schedule
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors holds its first public business meeting of 2010 on Wednesday, January 6, in the MBTA Board Room, Boston. During 2010, meetings will be held in Springfield, Lowell, and Brockton, along with Boston. All meetings are open to the public.
The meeting schedule is available on the MassDOT website.
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