Pro­pos­als for rail sta­tion de­sign and con­struc­tion be­ing fielded

Pawtucket Times - - FRONT PAGE - By RUSS OLIVO ro­livo@woonsock­et­call.com

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.

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