This morning marked a momentous occasion for South County Commuter Rail expansion when ground was broken at the Wickford Junction Train Station. Governor Donald Carcieri, Senator Jack Reed, Congressman James Langevin, and Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Administrator Peter Rogoff joined Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) Director Michael P. Lewis and other officials at the site of the $22 million project in North Kingstown.
Designed as an alternative to the heavily traveled corridor of I-95 and Route 4 in the southern part of the state, the Station will extend existing Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) trains from Boston, Massachusetts to Providence and starting this Fall, to the InterLink at T.F. Green Airport in Warwick.
As a steadfast supporter of transportation improvements throughout his administration, Governor Carcieri has made infrastructure investments a priority.
“The impact of this project on commuters, the economy, and our transportation infrastructure will be significant,” said Governor Donald L. Carcieri. “Commuter rail will be a relaxing and cost-effective alternative for South County commuters who travel increasingly congested roads into the Providence metropolitan area on a daily basis. At the same time, it will benefit the entire state by connecting South County to the Boston metropolitan area and creating economic opportunities for Rhode Island. The reduction in the number of cars on the road also will enable us to extend the life of our highway system.”
Taking advantage of its location at Wickford Junction, the project will complement the transit-oriented development already in existence. It will also provide a catalyst for future partnerships between Federal, state and local entities.
“The expansion of commuter rail here in South County is a key component to providing a well-balanced intermodal transportation system in our state,” said RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis. “We are pleased to have partnered on this project with the FTA, MBTA, Amtrak, the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA), and the Town of North Kingstown, to name only a few.”
The project would not be at its current stage without the support of the Rhode Island Congressional delegation. Both Senator Jack Reed and Congressman James Langevin were instrumental in working with their colleagues to secure Federal funds to advance this project.
“Expanding rail service to Wickford is a smart investment that will have long-term economic benefits for the state and the region. This project means more jobs and increased options for South County residents and visitors and less pollution and gridlock on our roads. For $2.75 riders will be able to hop on at Wickford and take the fast track to Providence. Or they can continue on to Boston. This project has tremendous public benefits for local businesses, commuters, families, and the environment,” said U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee who secured $32.6 million for the project in Congressionally directed appropriations.
“Moving Rhode Islanders faster and more efficiently by train, while easing congestion on our highways, is beneficial for all,” said Congressman James Langevin. “I look forward to taking the new commuter rail to the Intermodal at the airport and also onto Providence.”
Through a design/build contract with Manafort Brothers, Inc., the Station will also include an 800-foot train platform, a 1,100-space onsite parking garage, and a new point of access off of Ten Rod Road (Route 102). Amtrak will provide $7 million of track and signal work to support the Station. The Wickford Junction Train Station and parking garage is currently slated for completion at the end of September 2011.
Contact: Heidi Gudmundson (401) 222-1362 x. 4009