BOSTON, Mass. /Massachusetts Newswire/ -– Massachusetts will receive more than $64.3 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to support improvements to public transit and commuter rail services, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced July 9. More than $43 million will support commuter rail improvements, including projects that will lead to double-tracking of the Haverhill and Fitchburg Commuter Rail lines to decrease delays and improve service and on-time performance. The announcement comes a day after Governor Deval Patrick and state Transportation Secretary James A. Aloisi, Jr. met with LaHood in Washington, D.C.

“We are committed to improving the quality and reliability of commuter rail service throughout the Commonwealth,” said Governor Patrick. “These recovery investments will help create jobs, improve our infrastructure and strengthen our long-term economy.”

“This track improvement initiative is major priority of the Patrick-Murray Administration,” said Lt. Governor Timothy P. Murray. “Strengthening our passenger and freight rail network is critical to sparking economic growth and building more livable communities.”

Among the projects Secretary LaHood announced, Massachusetts will receive:

•Haverhill Commuter Rail Line: $10 million for Haverhill Line double tracking project (Wilmington Junction to Andover St. in Lawrence) and $7.4 million for new track circuits, new power switches, new interlocking, and grade crossing improvements (various locations).

•Fitchburg Commuter Rail Line: $10.2 million for interlocking work, which will provide improved reliability and on-time performance for the Fitchburg Line. This project will prepare the line for a future double-tracking project to be funded by stimulus dollars.

•Commuter Rail Improvements: $5.25 million for improvements to commuter rail stations including platforms, lighting and signage, and $3 million for repairs to commuter rail bridges. $8 million for commuter rail facilities improvements, including repairs and upgrades.
Additional funding will provide support for MBTA tunnel signage and station improvements. The federal government also gave final approval for the $12.8 million regional transit center in Greenfield.

“Commuter rail is a lifeline for thousands of residents in areas outside of Boston that depend on quality service to get to work, school or even Red Sox games,” said Secretary Aloisi. “We will use federal stimulus funding to provide the improvements to service and reliability that commuter rail riders deserve.”

Investments in rail and transportation infrastructure are critical components of Governor Patrick’s Massachusetts Recovery Plan, which combines state, federal and, where possible, private efforts to provide immediate and long-term relief and position the Commonwealth for recovery in the following ways:

•Deliver immediate relief by investing in the road, bridge and rail projects that put people to work today and providing safety net services that sustain people who are especially vulnerable during an economic crisis;

•Build a better tomorrow through education and infrastructure investments that strengthen our economic competitiveness, prepare workers for the jobs of the future, and support clean energy, broadband, and technology projects that cut costs while growing the economy; and

•Reform state government by eliminating the pension and ethics loopholes that discredit the work of government and revitalize the transportation networks that have suffered from decades of neglect and inaction.
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