Governor Lincoln D. Chafee and the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) today announced the state has received a $650,000 Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant to help the state plan for a new mass transit center in Providence.
One of 72 projects nationwide to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation, the funds will be used for the final pre-construction planning, design and analysis needed to build a modern intermodal facility at the Providence Station that supports diverse modes of travel. The station is currently ranked one of the top three busiest stations in the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's network – and ranked 14 out of 500 Amtrak stations nationwide. This success has led the station to outgrow its 1980s design.
"This is great news for Rhode Island. The Providence Station is one of the busiest Amtrak stops in the nation and this TIGER grant allows us to further implement the state plan for a new mass transit center in our capital," Governor Chafee said. "Infrastructure, as well as education and workforce development is one of the key building blocks of a good economy. I am pleased the federal government has recognized the progress we have made."
U.S. Senator Jack Reed, a member of the Appropriations Committee, said: "This federal TIGER grant should help map out ways to improve public transportation choices in Providence and support local community development goals."
"This federal funding is a key step toward improving our Capital City's mass transit systems, and I congratulate Governor Chafee, Director Lewis, Mayor Taveras, and the City of Providence on winning this support," U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse said. "Major infrastructure projects like this can create jobs and improve daily commutes for thousands of Rhode Islanders."
"The City of Providence is not only our state capital, but also the heart of public transportation, where RIPTA buses and rail service converge just minutes from T.F. Green Airport," said Congressman Jim Langevin. "If we want to encourage people to live and work in Rhode Island, or commute from neighboring states and communities like Boston, we need to support a robust, accessible transit system. I am thrilled that these TIGER grants have been awarded to Providence, and I look forward to seeing the city further enhanced by the Providence station project."
"The Providence Station is an essential transportation hub in Rhode Island, providing commuters access to downtown Providence and tourists a gateway to the attractions and businesses in our state," said Congressman David Cicilline. "With this federal grant, the Rhode Island Department of Transportation will have the opportunity to design a new intermodal transit center to improve transportation services. I'm proud to join with my colleagues to announce this grant and thank the USDOT for helping Rhode Island make essential investments in a 21st century transportation system."
"I'd like to thank the USDOT for recognizing the value of this project to Rhode Island and helping us move closer to achieving a 21st century transportation system in our state," RIDOT Director Michael P. Lewis said. "Throughout history, economic growth has occurred at centers of transportation. It is investments such as this that hold real potential in connecting Rhode Islanders to opportunity and improving our state's competitiveness in the marketplace."
Rhode Island has one of the fastest growing demands for public transit in the country. A new intermodal center at the Providence Station allows the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) to build upon investments already underway designed to better locate bus service in the metropolitan area and improve connectivity with other travel services.
"RIPTA is excited to be a part of efforts to advance a multimodal transit center at Providence Station that will greatly improve all modes of transit for Rhode Island," said CEO Raymond Studley. "With the support of our partners, we expect this TIGER investment to lead to important steps toward addressing some of our state's most significant transit capacity issues."
In recent years, the Providence Station has fallen into disrepair. While planning continues for the new intermodal center, RIDOT is set to begin a smaller project to address the station's immediate needs. Improvements planned include reconstructing the entrance plaza (downtown side) – as well as repairing concrete and limestone on the building's facade. Enhancements will also be made to improve ADA access and vehicle circulation. Construction is scheduled to begin in Spring 2015 – with completion anticipated in Spring 2016.
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