Proposals for rail station design and construction being fielded
PAWTUCKET — The state Department of Transportation has begun accepting proposals for the design and construction of the proposed $40 million commuter rail station near the Central Falls line, transportation officials announced.
The new Pawtucket-Central Falls Commuter Rail Station would serve “a built-in ridership” that lacks robust transit choices, with many area residents having to drive to nearby commuter rail stations in Attleboro and South Attleboro, DOT said.
The new station will be located near the intersections of Pine Street and Goff Avenue in Pawtucket, an area envisioned as a prime center for increased transit-oriented economic development.
"We look forward to putting shovels in the ground and Rhode Islanders to work by the end of this year building the Pawtucket-Central Falls Commuter Rail Station,"
Governor Gina Raimondo said. "The creation of this new, regional transit hub will strengthen public transit in Rhode Island and support economic growth in these two cities."
DOT expects to award a design-build contract by early summer. This approach will shrink the overall timeframe to design and build the station, breaking ground in late 2017. The facility could be operational by late 2019.
"I'm excited to take this important next step to begin the development of the train station," said Pawtucket Mayor Donald Grebien. "As RIDOT seeks bids, Pawtucket and Central Falls continue to work together to position the train station district to be a transportation and business hub."
Central Falls Mayor James Diossa thanked Raimondo and DOT Director Peter Alviti for making the project a priority. He said “their leadership, prioritization and prompt action” will make sure the project keeps moving quickly.
Alviti said the station is “perfectly located” to meet the needs of residents of the two cities, and will “certainly aid these communities’ efforts to revitalize this area and create economic development opportunities.”
The station will afford a direct connection via Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) trains to Providence, T.F. Green Airport and Wickford Junction stations, plus multiple stops en route to South Station in Boston. Alviti said ridership studies show this station will attract a high level of users, with estimated 519 daily boardings.
The commuter rail station would include dedicated platforms for northbound and southbound service, connected by a pedestrian bridge overpass, ramps and stairs. To further increase transit connectivity, a future Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) bus hub will be built separately through a $7 million Federal Transit Administration grant.
The $40 million project is funded largely through the efforts of the state’s congressional delegation to secure $13.1 million through the federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant program. The TIGER grant program is designed to spur difficult-to-finance projects that have a significant impact on a region or metropolitan area. This highly competitive grant program received 585 applications valued at $9.3 billion, with only $500 million available in grants.
The communities of Pawtucket and Central Falls are also providing funding to the project, jointly contributing $3 million.