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On the MassDOT Blog

Focus40: Seeking Ideas for the Future

MassDOT Secretary of Transportation Stephanie Pollack and Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Jay Ash are planning for transportation and economic demands of the year 2040 – and they want your ideas. They launched the Focus40 project on May 24 to develop a 25-year strategic vision for MBTA investments. Focus40 will address today’s capital needs, as well as anticipating the transit needs of Greater Boston in the year 2040.

You can help! Please take the Transit Priorities Survey by July 31!

View the entire Focus40: Seeking Ideas for the Future blog post.

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June 24, 2016

MassDOT Board Approves $14.8 Billion 5-Year Capital Investment Plan

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board has approved its $14.8 billion 5-year Capital Investment Plan (CIP).

train at station

The FY2017-FY2021 CIP funds capital improvements and infrastructure projects, including roads, bridges and MBTA projects across the Commonwealth as part of the agency’s efforts to restore reliability to the state’s transportation systems and modernize its assets.

This CIP marks the first time MassDOT and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) have worked together to create a comprehensive plan to improve its infrastructure.

"These important investments are one of many steps the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and MBTA are taking to improve the dependability of our core transit system and provide riders with a more reliable and efficient service," said Governor Charlie Baker. "These capital dollars will allow for much-needed upgrades at the T, including signals, track and switches, as well as our roads, bridges and other infrastructure."

Approximately 59 percent of the plan’s funding will be spent on improving reliability in the core transportation systems. Another 18 percent will fund projects to modernize existing infrastructure to accommodate anticipated growth, increased accessibility and new safety standards.

"The final Capital Investment Plan represents a transformative, strategic investment plan to restore reliability to the Commonwealth's transportation systems, modernize infrastructure and expansion," said MassDOT Secretary & CEO Stephanie Pollack. "I would like to thank all of the MassDOT staff and MBTA staff that worked for months to create this plan, as well as individuals who participated in public meetings and issued their feedback on the plan. Your comments were invaluable to the creation of this Capital Investment Plan."

CIP Highlights

  • $1 billion ($200 million each year for 5 years) of Chapter 90 roadway repair and maintenance funding.
  • $476 million over 5 years for non-interstate paving, an 80 percent increase over previous funding levels.
  • Overall, the plan would cut the T's State of Good Repair backlog from $7.3 billion to $3.5 billion over the five-year period. The CIP appropriates $4 billion to repair and rehabilitate aging MBTA infrastructure, including $1 billion for signals and power improvements, $1.6 billion for new buses and train cars for the Red, Orange and Green Lines.
  • $1.1 billion for the Green Line Extension project.

For the first time, MassDOT used a formal evaluation system to choose which projects to invest in based on their priorities to assure capital dollars are funding beneficial and cost-effective projects.

Public input went into preparation of the final CIP: 900 individuals attended 16 Capital Conversations and MassDOT held 15 public meetings. In addition, MassDOT received from the public 1,725 comments via email and letters providing input on proposed plans.

Milestone Nears: Longfellow Bridge "Salt and Pepper" Towers Restoration

MassDOT announced that the restoration of the iconic "salt and pepper" towers of the historic Longfellow Bridge will be complete in late July. The downstream towers have been replaced on the bridge, and barges are transporting the last stones for installation on them. The capstones will be installed, and all work on their installation is anticipated to be completed within weeks.

Longfellow Towers

The completed restoration of the 58-foot towers marks a major milestone for the MassDOT bridge project to rehabilitate the structure. The project will improve accommodations for all modes of travel and provide a bridge that meets modern standards and the public’s needs for years to come, while respecting its historical significance.

The process to remove, restore and replace the towers began in March 2014 with the removal and dismantling of the upstream towers. The downstream towers were removed in July 2015.

During the restoration, MassDOT's design/build contractor, White-Skanska-Consigli (WSC), carefully logged the location and condition of each tower's 515 granite stones and removed them for cleaning and restoration. The contractor is now replacing the final stones for the two downstream towers and anticipates the work will be complete at the end of July. The restoration includes measures to strengthen each tower to meet current seismic requirements.

"I am thrilled to see the progress made in restoring these beautiful towers," said MassDOT Highway Administrator Thomas Tinlin. "I look forward to the day when the work on the towers is complete and once again we will see them in the distance as we look out over the skyline of the Charles River. I would like to thank all of the MassDOT staff and contractor employees for their dedication to preserving the historic aspects of this bridge which is one of the area’s most well-known landmarks."

For more information, visit the Longfellow Bridge Project website.

Community Transit Grants Announced

MassDOT announced the awarding of more than $9 million in FY2017 Community Transit Program Grants to support transit programs for seniors and individuals with disabilities across the Commonwealth.

The grants, which are state and federal dollars administrated through MassDOT's Rail & Transit Division, are intended to fund the purchase of vans to transport seniors and individuals with disabilities, dispatch systems and coordination with human service providers to assist in getting riders to their destinations.

Grant Recipient includes the following:

  • Worcester Regional Transit Authority (WRTA): $45,000 in operational funds to support continued on-demand SCM Elderbus ReadyBus service in rural Southwest Worcester County Communities.
  • WRTA: $15,000 in operational funds to support continued SCM Elderbus mid-day shuttle service for seniors and disabled individuals within 21 Worcester County communities.
  • Berkshire Regional Transit Authority: $313,721 in capital funding to purchase five replacement vans.
  • Greater-Attleboro Regional Transit Authority: $129,678 in capital dollars to purchase 11 replacement vans and $41,900 to establish a pilot transit service to connect the Town of Wareham and the City of New Bedford. (The pilot service will also include the towns of Mattapoiset, Fairhaven and Marion.)
  • Lowell Regional Transit Authority: $62,212 in capital funding to purchase one expanded bus and $228,308 to purchase six replacement minibuses.

"The Community Transit Program Grants will improve transportation connectivity across the Commonwealth, including in rural communities where seniors and individuals with disabilities may have limited transportation choices to getting where they need to go," said MassDOT Secretary & CEO Stephanie Pollack. In total, 63 grants were awarded to 36 applicants. The application period ran from mid-January to mid-February and awards were made in June.

"These grants are a continuation of the steps MassDOT has taken to improve public transportation options and service. Improved service with new vehicles will ease the burden seniors and individuals with disabilities face in getting to their desired destinations," MassDOT Transit Administrator Astrid Glynn.

RMV Closing Danvers Branch Due to Infrastructure Issues, New Location Sought

MassDOT's Registry of Motor Vehicles announced it will be closing its current Danvers branch office located in the Liberty Tree Mall at 100 Independence Way, due to site infrastructure issues. The last day of service at this location will be Friday, June 24, prior to the lease’s expiration on June 30.

RMV Logo

To assist customers who normally would go to the office location in Danvers, the RMV is adding additional staff and expanding hours at branch locations in Revere and Wilmington, increasing collaborative relationships with AAA so RMV services can be done at some AAA locations, and encouraging customers to take care of some needs online.

A mechanical engineering review determined last week that the current HVAC system is insufficient to meet the needs of customers and staff at the Liberty Tree Mall location and the upgrades required to make this location viable were too costly. Recent issues with the HVAC forced the RMV to temporarily close this branch at the beginning of June for several days, the latest in a series of closures due to this issue.

"Due to infrastructure issues at the RMV's Danvers branch that have inhibited operations and reliable customer service, we are closing the existing facility and working expeditiously to identify a long-term replacement location," said Registrar of Motor Vehicles Erin C. Deveney. "We appreciate our customers’ patience and understanding during this transition, and in addition to services available online, are making accommodations at nearby branches in Revere and Wilmington to serve customers in Danvers and to deliver the reliable, predictable and dependable service customers deserve."

The RMV is encouraging all customers to visit to determine their eligibility for an online transaction before visiting a local branch office. From the homepage of the RMV website, customers can click to renew their registration or license and find a link to a full list of online services.

The RMV also is making service changes at other locations for customers that need to visit a branch to complete their business. As of Monday, June 27, the RMV is expanding hours at two locations near Danvers, the Revere Branch Office at 9c Everett Street and the Wilmington Branch Office, 355 Middlesex Avenue, will be open from 8am-5pm effective June 27.

The RMV also encourages AAA members to consider visiting the Saugus AAA Office, 214 Broadway Street, or the Newburyport AAA Office, 45 Story Avenue, in the Port Plaza Shopping Center, in order to complete some Registry tasks. In addition, the RMV is currently collaborating with AAA on the possibility of the Peabody AAA office beginning to offer Registry services at the Peabody location in the next few weeks.

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