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For Immediate Release: 11/29/2011
CONTACT: MassDOT Press Office
(617) 973-8472

Patrick-Murray Administration Celebrates Completion of Three Bridges to Advance South Coast Rail


First Federal Stimulus TIGER Grant Project is Completed Ahead of Schedule


NEW BEDFORD -- Tuesday, November 29, 2011 -- Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Secretary Richard A. Davey today joined local and regional officials to celebrate the successful completion of a $20 million project to reconstruct three structurally-deficient rail bridges critical to moving the South Coast Rail project forward. 

"It is encouraging to see this important rail bridge project completed ahead of schedule,” said Governor Deval Patrick. “Thanks to support from the Obama Administration and our Congressional partners, we were able to create jobs while taking an important step forward in advancing passenger rail service to the South Coast.”

The project was the first in the nation to begin construction after receiving federal Recovery Act Transportation Investment Generation Economic Recovery (TIGER) Grant funds from the Obama Administration. The work began in October 2010 and was completed four months ahead of schedule. The reconstruction of the Deane Street, Sawyer Street and Coggeshall Street rail bridges represents the first completed phase of construction necessary to advance the South Coast Rail project. The projects created approximately 240 construction jobs.

“This marks another successful milestone that demonstrates our Administration's commitment to bringing freight and passenger rail service back to the South Coast region,” said Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray.

The rebuilt bridges were constructed in 1907. They were badly deteriorated and limited only to light freight loads. Reconstruction of the century-old bridges will immediately enhance freight operations and improve vehicle traffic below while supporting future passenger rail for the region. In addition to the $20 million in competitive stimulus TIGER funds awarded for this project, Massachusetts also received a $32.5 million federal grant to support the design phase of the Boston South Station expansion project, which will support the South Coast Rail Project. 

“This completed project represents both the long-term commitment of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor to rebuild our transportation infrastructure and the successful partnership with members of our Congressional delegation and federal railroad officials who approved our TIGER grant application,” said Secretary Davey.

"These three TIGER grant funded bridge projects advance New Bedford one hundred years in rail capacity,' said New Bedford Mayor Scott W. Lang. "The bridges will allow for appropriate speed freight and passenger traffic and will help spur economic development and smart growth on our waterfront and throughout our city. This project has been completed well ahead of schedule and has provided dozens of much needed heavy construction jobs. We are extremely appreciative of the efforts of Governor Patrick, our congressional delegation and the Obama Administration in providing the funding for this critical infrastructure work." 

Congressman Barney Frank said, "the Patrick administration and specifically Secretary Davey and MassDOT have been very responsive to our region’s economic and transportation needs and I am pleased to have voted for the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act which is the source of these very necessary funds.”

Representative Tony Cabral said, "The completion of these three bridges is an important step that could help to support the South Coast Rail. I hope we use the successful completion of this project as momentum to continue forward."

 "I thank the Patrick Administration for getting the TIGER grant funding for this necessary project," said Representative Robert Koczera.  "The bridge work is necessary for commuter rail service to come to New Bedford. There is no doubt the extension of commuter rail service to New Bedford will bolster our region's economy." 

The rail bridges reconstruction project is among several investments in South Coast Rail by the Patrick-Murray Administration. The newly-released capital plan includes $8.3 million this year for continued planning and design of South Coast Rail. The Commonwealth has also completed an historic agreement with CSX Transportation to purchase 30 miles of track from Taunton to Fall River and New Bedford necessary for South Coast Rail. MassDOT and the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development in November also announced the award of $275,000 in grants to 18 South Coast communities for technical assistance to implement the South Coast Rail Corridor Plan. The Corridor Plan identifies areas for protection and development in 31 communities. The Technical Assistance Program provides cities and towns resources to implement the plan in their community.

South Coast Rail will restore passenger rail service from South Station in Boston to the South Coast cities of Fall River and New Bedford.  It will address long-standing transportation inequity, encourage economic development, foster job creation and connect people with affordable housing options, while protecting the natural environment. The project is guided by Sustainable Development principles and includes a regional smart growth corridor plan.

More information is available on the project website at http://www.southcoastrail.com.

For transportation news and updates visit MassDOT at our website: www.mass.gov/massdot, blog: www.mass.gov/blog/transportation, or follow MassDOT on twitter at www.twitter.com/massdot.
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