BOSTON – Wednesday, July 17, 2013 – Governor Deval Patrick today joined Boston Mayor Thomas Menino, MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard Davey and MBTA General Manager Dr. Beverly Scott to officially open the Four Corners Commuter Rail Station and celebrate the recent improvements made along the entire Fairmount Commuter Rail Line. The new stations and other improvements along the line are the culmination of years of work between city, state and federal agencies, community activists and development organizations that will improve public transportation in the neighborhoods of Dorchester, Roxbury and Mattapan.
“We all know that reliable public transportation translates into jobs, economic opportunity and a higher quality of life,” said Governor Patrick. “I am proud of the tremendous progress we have made in improving the Fairmount Line, but there is more to do to give our residents the 21st century transportation system they deserve. We will continue the fight for reliable roads and bridges, and an efficient and affordable public transportation system.”
“Public transportation is a huge economic issue. So this effort is about more than extending a rail line – it’s about reducing the unemployment line,” said Mayor Menino. “It’s about bringing new jobs, new investments, and new opportunities to the 130,000 Bostonians who live along the Fairmount Line. I’m proud that by working together with the MBTA and the community, we’re generating improvements that will give residents better access to good, quality public transportation.”
MassDOT and the MBTA will hold two additional official openings along the line later in the day to celebrate the new Talbot Avenue Commuter Rail Station, which opened to customers in November, and the Newmarket Commuter Rail Station that opened for service July 1, 2013 with Four Corners. Work on the fourth new station of the Fairmount Line Improvements Project, Blue Hill Ave, is expected to begin construction later this summer.
“The significant investments made in the Fairmount Line represent our belief in the transformative power of transportation,” said Secretary Davey. “The improvement of service and addition of stations along the Commuter Rail’s only line exclusively serving the City of Boston will bring opportunities for economic development for the residents and neighborhoods of this great city.”
“I am proud to say that the MBTA has been working hand in hand with the many dedicated and focused community organizations that serve this area to bring better service to the people and help increase ridership levels that will help maintain the line,” said MBTA GM Scott. “The years this project has been developing were spent carefully listening, planning and building an integral new piece of this community and I look forward to continuing that important conversation for years to come.”
The station locations were chosen to support improved bus service by reducing overcrowding on existing buses, to relieve traffic congestion on main thoroughfares and to provide an alternative mode of transportation in creating “walk-to” stations for neighborhood residents along the corridor. The overall goal of the Fairmount Line Improvements Program is to provide residents with a direct and convenient mode of public transportation that will improve opportunity and increase ridership on the line.
The opening of these new stations is accompanied by the return of pre-construction service levels to the line bringing 20 inbound and 20 outbound trips per day down the line and reducing the wait time between trains. Also in an effort to increase ridership, the MBTA is launching a pilot program that will move Fairmount Station into Zone 1A for at least the next 18 months.
“Investment in our communities is critical and I believe the new stations along the Fairmont Line allow much needed access to economic opportunities, “ said Senator Linda Dorcena Forry. “This is the result of many years of community collaboration and planning. I commend Governor Patrick, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the MBTA for their hard work creating a better transportation system for our Commonwealth. This expansion helps connect residents and businesses throughout my district, further strengthening the 1st Suffolk District partnership.”
"This investment in transportation does far more than move people from place to place. It will spur economic growth and development for families by making opportunities available, jobs and services accessible as well as reduce traffic and our carbon footprint across neighborhoods where asthma and air quality are serious issues,” said Representative Carlos Henriquez. “This commitment to community is shared by the Patrick administration, MassDOT, MBTA and the hundreds of residents who led, informed and advocated for this rail line."
“We are today delivering on a commitment of bringing a one seat ride to my community,” said Representative Russell Holmes. “Residents will no longer need to take a bus or trolley to a train to go downtown and we now look forward to increased ridership.”
The Fairmount Line represents yet another significant investment in public transit by the Patrick Administration. After years of neglect, the MBTA’s existing infrastructure is getting the maintenance and upgrades necessary to keep the system operating in a safe and reliable manner. “State-of-good-repair” spending is approaching nearly $600 million per year. In 2011 and 2012, the MBTA experienced unprecedented ridership growth while introducing subway countdown clocks, smartphone apps for tracking the arrival of buses and trains, mobile ticketing for commuter rail and improved accessibility with new elevators and escalators at various stations.