Historic Step Funds Preliminary Design, Construction Management to bring Passenger Rail Service to South Coast
BOSTON- Wednesday, June 18, 2014- The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Board of Directors today awarded a $210 million contract for the South Coast Rail Project, officially moving the much-anticipated project from planning into construction.
“South Coast Rail will be a game changer for the region, providing a reliable public transit option for residents and businesses of the South Coast,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “This historic project will help create new economic opportunity in communities along the rail corridor, opening up the area for the kind of growth we are seeing elsewhere throughout the Commonwealth.”
The 10-year contract for Program and Construction Management with Vanasse Hangen Brustlin (VHB)/HNTB Corporation awards $12 million in first year funding to begin program management, early design development, and environmental permitting, with additional awards in succeeding years up to the contract limit of $210 million.
“We have already taken numerous steps to advance South Coast Rail, and this management contract moves us decisively from planning to design and construction,” said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey. “Public transit isn’t just about moving people from Point A to B. It’s about giving people access to employment opportunities, recreation and an improved quality of life. The South Coast Rail will help open those doors for the communities in that region.”
“From creating new jobs to supporting innovation and industry, the South Coast Rail project will provide a critical infrastructure link that will drive economic development in the region,” said Congressman Joseph Kennedy III. “As we work towards strengthening our local economies and tackling still stubborn unemployment rates, it is critical that we take the necessary steps to move this project forward. I’d like to thank Governor Patrick, Secretary Davey, MassDOT and the tremendous leaders on the ground in Fall River, Taunton and New Bedford who have tirelessly championed this important project.”
"The sooner construction on South Coast Rail gets underway, the sooner we will start to see the great, many benefits to our community," said Congressman Bill Keating. "With South Coast Rail comes job creation, expanded commerce and countless other economic opportunities, not to mention a state of the art transportation system for an area of the state that needs and deserves it. I wholeheartedly commend our state delegation for moving this critical infrastructure project forward."
“The MBTA request of $210 million to fund construction management of the South Coast Rail is just one more milestone in the marathon to complete this critical and important economic link to our region. Having worked tirelessly on this issue for many years, I’m excited to finally see real progress toward construction”, said Senator Mark Montigny. “Commuter rail service between Boston and the South Coast will continue to be my number one priority until the first train arrives.”
“The advancement to the design and construction phase of the South Coast Rail project is incredibly heartening to me and my colleagues, who have worked for years to make South Coast Rail a reality,” said Senator Michael J. Rodrigues. “Linking the South Coast to Boston means enhancements in job opportunities, economic development, and quality of life for so many residents. I am proud of the progress made so far, and I thank MassDOT and the Patrick administration for their hard work and dedication to this much-needed project.”
“The award of this contract signifies a new beginning for the South Coast Rail Project and is the next most logical step for those of us here on the Commonwealth’s South Coast who have worked to see the project come to fruition,” said Representative Patricia A. Haddad. “This will allow us, South of Boston, to increase access as other areas of the state now does and in doing so increase our region’s economic development opportunities.”
“This project will be a transformative development for New Bedford and Fall River, creating jobs and opportunities for those of us living in the South Coast, and improving the economy for all of Massachusetts,” said Representative Antonio F.D. Cabral. “Today’s contract represents an important step forward for South Coast Rail.”
“I thank the Governor for continuing his commitment to South Coast Rail by releasing this critical next phase of funding” said Representative Carole Fiola. “We have all worked long and hard to bring this economic engine to the South Coast and look forward to the day we too have commuter rail access to and from Boston.”
"There are few actions more important to the South Coast than the advancement of rail connection to Boston,” said Representative Paul Schmid. “I applaud this critical next step."
South Coast Rail will provide commuter service from New Bedford and Fall River to Boston South Station using the Northeast Corridor, Stoughton Commuter Rail Line, New Bedford Main Line and Fall River Secondary Line. The proposed service would be an electrified commuter rail system extending from Canton Junction to New Bedford and Fall River. The New Bedford to Boston route is 55 miles with a travel time of 77 minutes. The Fall River to Boston route is 52.7 miles and travel time of 75 minutes.
The project with a current estimated total budget of $2.3 billion will reconstruct 44 rail crossings and 34 bridges, in addition to four bridges and five crossings already in design as part of separate projects. New stations will be constructed in Stoughton, North Easton, Raynham Park, Taunton, Taunton Depot, Freetown, and Fall River. Current stations receiving new platforms include Canton Center, Easton Village, Kings Highway, Battleship Cove and Whale’s Tooth in New Bedford. All stations will be fully accessible.
The $12 million first year contract work will include program management, data collection including environmental site assessments, partial preliminary design, continuing of the environmental permitting process, and public outreach.
Wednesday’s South Coast Rail Program Management contract approval builds on numerous prior investments supporting the project, including:
- Installation of approximately 42,000 rail ties and spikes beginning in 2013 along 33 miles of right-of-way leading to Fall River and New Bedford.
- The Commonwealth’s purchase of 30 miles of track, Taunton to Fall River and New Bedford, from CSX Transportation.
- Rebuilding of three New Bedford rail bridges funded by a $20 million federal TIGER grant.
- South Coast Rail Economic Development and Land Use Corridor Plan strategic investments assisting 31 Corridor communities in preparing for passenger rail through sustainable development and appropriate land use.
The South Coast Rail project in restoring passenger rail transportation from South Station in Boston to the South Coast of Massachusetts will stimulate nearly half a billion dollars in economic development annually and deliver regional equity to the South Coast region. The cities of Taunton, Fall River and New Bedford are the only cities within 50 miles of Boston that are not served by commuter rail. South Coast Rail will provide a new, convenient travel option while creating jobs and improving the economy in Southeastern Massachusetts.
Visit the South Coast Rail website to learn more about the project: http://www.southcoastrail.com/
In 2009, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) was created to unify the state’s various transportation agencies. MassDOT now includes the Highway Division, the MBTA and Rail Transit Division, the Aeronautics Division, and the Registry of Motor Vehicles. MassDOT is committed to providing a safe and reliable transportation system to all those who travel in the Commonwealth and works to deliver excellent customer service. MassDOT has been nationally recognized for its innovative approach to transportation, including the Accelerated Bridge Program, the “Where’s My Bus and Train?” apps and “Fast 14” work. For more information, visit MassDOT at our website: www.mass.gov/massdot blog: http://blog.mass.gov/transportation/, or follow MassDOT on twitter at https://twitter.com/MassDOT and Facebook at www.facebook.com/massdotinfo.