Gov. Deval Patrick joined Boston Mayor Thomas Menino and Transportation Secretary James Aloisi on Monday to announce federal stimulus funding to improve Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) bus service along New England's busiest bus corridor and in neighborhoods currently unserved by rapid transit.
The two-stage bus rapid transit (BRT) project will provide a direct Silver Line connection from Dudley Station to South Station in Boston this fall, and replace an existing heavily-used bus route from Mattapan to Ruggles Station with rapid transit bus service that will provide faster, more reliable service to tens of thousands of trips a day. The announcement comes after the recent announcement of the Patrick Administration "flexed" highway federal recovery funding to build a state-of-the-art regional transit center in Greenfield.
The BRT project will cost approximately $114 million, but that could change as the specific design is refined. Of the projected $114 million, $76 million is for construction and the remainder is for planning, engineering, right-of-way acquisition and other administrative costs.
"With smart, strategic use of federal recovery funds we can bring rapid transit to some of Boston's busiest bus routes, connecting key neighborhoods and delivering reliable service for tens of thousands of commuters who rely on the MBTA," said Gov. Patrick.
The new bus rapid transit line will also feature dedicated bus lanes; longer "articulated" diesel-hybrid buses; and innovative design and technology features, such as "queue jumping" (allowing buses to bypass lines at traffic signals) and traffic signal priority to speed up service and dramatically improve reliability. In addition, federal transit stimulus funds will be used to invest in several upgrades to the Dudley Square Station.