May 4, 2012

Mass. opens ARRA-funded transit facilities

A new federally-funded transit project in Massachusetts, the John W. Olver Intermodal Center in Greenfield, Mass., will improve access to Amtrak. The state-of-the-art, energy-efficient center will serve as a central hub for transportation in the heart of this Northwest community’s urban renewal zone.

The spacious Olver Center replaces the old Franklin County transit hub, where passengers were forced to wait for buses on two benches in crowded conditions outside Greenfield City Hall.

In addition, as a result of the Olver Center, Greenfield residents will soon have access to Amtrak’s Vermonter passenger rail service. The Olver Center will serve as a stop on the Vermonter line, which will undergo extensive improvements between Springfield and East Northfield, Mass., beginning this summer. The Olver Center is expected to be energy-neutral — saving as much energy as it uses —  using, for example, solar power to light and heat the building.

The Olver Center was funded with $15.1 million from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA), including a $12.8 million boost from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The restored Amtrak service received Recovery Act funds totaling $72.8 million from the Federal Railroad Administration.

Meanwhile, the new 350-space parking garage at the North Leominster Commuter Rail Station is one of several improvement projects along Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s Fitchburg Commuter Rail Line. The FTA is providing $6 million for the project, which will make it easier for area commuters to use local bus service and take the Fitchburg rail line to work in the downtown Boston area.

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