U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today announced an award to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) for $32.5 million to expand and enhance the historic South Station in Boston. The station currently operates beyond its capacity and expects an estimated 50 percent increase in high-speed intercity passenger rail travel in the coming years along the Northeast Corridor, making expansion necessary.
"These dollars will allow South Station to expand and meet the needs of the traveling public," said Secretary LaHood. "Revitalizing and modernizing South Station is not only crucial to accommodating projected population growth, it will create jobs and grow the region's economy."
The grant will allow MassDOT to complete all necessary environmental reviews as well as preliminary engineering activities for the station expansion, including:
- Development of a new layover facility for train storage during off-peak times.
- Improvements to existing tracks, platforms, interlockings, passenger facilities and other infrastructure.
- Demolition and relocation of an existing, adjacent U.S. Postal Service General Mail Facility to construct new passenger facilities, including tracks, platforms, waiting areas with connections to existing platforms and tracks and the adjacent South Station Bus Terminal.
- Design passenger enhancements through improved streetscape, pedestrian, bicycle, local transit, and vehicular facilities in and around the station, including the re-opening of Dorchester Avenue for public use.
- Develop a cost estimate for the construction phase of the project.
- Consideration of opportunities for joint public/private development over an expanded South Station. Such development agreements exist at New York's Penn Station and Union Station in Washington, DC.
South Station offers travelers access to Amtrak's high-speed Acela service as well as Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) commuter rail, intercity bus, rapid transit and bus rapid transit services, including direct service to Boston Logan International Airport. MassDOT will contribute $10.5 million to this phase of the project.
"This is not only a great project for Boston's MBTA commuters, but for all rail travelers in New England," said Federal Railroad Administrator Joseph C. Szabo. "Amtrak's Acela, Northeast Regional, Downeaster and Lake Shore Limited all utilize South Station, handling more than 1.3 million passengers in 2010."
Thirty-two states across the United States and the District of Columbia are currently laying the foundation for high-speed rail corridors to link Americans with faster and more energy-efficient travel options. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and annual appropriations have provided $10.1 billion to put America on track towards providing new and expanded rail access to communities and improving the reliability, speed, and frequency of existing service. Of that, more than $7.4 billion has been obligated to date.