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March 10, 2005


Comprehensive statewide blueprint invests $31 billion in roads, bridges and transit


Governor Mitt Romney and Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey today unveiled a comprehensive, multi-modal statewide transportation blueprint that will invest nearly $31 billion over the next two decades in the state’s roads, bridges and transit network.


“In the post Big-Dig world, we need to focus on getting transportation dollars to every corner of the Commonwealth from Pittsfield to Provincetown,” said Romney.


“This landmark plan identifies regional and multi-modal transportation priorities for all regions of the Commonwealth in a way that accounts for and maximizes the efficiency of every transportation dollar we spend,” Romney added.


The 20-year plan, which was rolled out by Romney and Healey during stops in Springfield, Worcester, Lowell, Lynn, New Bedford, Cape Cod and Boston, directs at least 75 percent of all new capital spending toward maintaining and improving the Commonwealth’s existing transportation network. Consistent with the Romney administration’s “Fix-It-First” policy, the majority of funds will be dedicated to bridge repair, highway reconstruction, de-bottlenecking, intersection and interchange modernization and ensuring our transit system is in a state of good repair.


Romney’s vision includes a number of transit expansions over the next two decades, prioritizing projects that earn federal dollars, win community support and encourage local contribution. Expansions include extending commuter rail to Fall River and New Bedford and the Blue Line to Lynn, increasing rail service between Worcester and Boston and building the Urban Ring, a rapid transit bus service that connects points around Boston.


The plan also invests $1 billion over the next five years in more than 600 bridge projects, aiming to reduce the number of structurally deficient bridges by 20 percent in that timeframe.


“Fixing our state’s structurally deficient bridges is a top priority of the Romney administration, and we need a massive investment to keep pace with the rapid level of deterioration,” said Healey. “Today’s plan doubles our commitment to the state’s bridge network to create jobs, spur economic investment and, most importantly, ensure safe travels for our residents and visitors.”


In order to improve commute times, Romney said the plan recommends $12 billion in reconstructing, decongesting and expanding roadways across the Commonwealth, including all major choke points. In addition to tackling hundreds of high-accident intersections and roads, the blueprint calls for the widening of Route 3 on the South Shore, making Route 2 a major east-west artery and wiring Interstate 91 in the Pioneer Valley to provide a fiber-optic “backbone” to convey traffic and other high-tech communications in the region.


It also directs $9 billion toward achieving a state of good repair on the MBTA’s aging assets, such as upgrading and renovating stations, purchasing new rail vehicles and buses, replacing aging train tracks and signalization and replacing elevators and escalators. All of these investments will be paid for out of MBTA resources.


The plan makes sure the Silver Line Phase III project is the last major expansion that the MBTA pays for with its own capital, which will free resources to operate and maintain existing infrastructure. Future MBTA expansions should rely on a combination of state, federal and local funding sources.


The plan doubles funding for the mobility assistance program, which provides vans for Regional Transit Agencies and elder services organizations. It emphasizes the use of corridor studies to look at land use and potential future development before undertaking a major expansion project in order to discourage sprawl and encourages transit-oriented development opportunities to encourage more housing near transit.


“This comprehensive plan shows how we can simultaneously strengthen our cities and town centers with new transit service, improve conditions for daily riders on the existing MBTA system and address steadily mounting road and bridge repair needs,” said Commonwealth Development Secretary Douglas I. Foy. “By doing so, this plan will help to make Massachusetts an even greater place to live for years to come.”


Transportation Secretary Daniel A. Grabauskas agreed, saying: “This is the Romney administration’s clear and comprehensive set of principles on how we move forward on transportation priorities. This far-reaching document touches on an array of issues we’ll be facing over the next two decades and makes clear how critical these issues are not only the future of our transportation infrastructure, but to the people it serves.”


Importantly, the long-range plan identifies state funding solutions to pay for outstanding Central Artery transit commitments without impacting financing for other planned projects.


The long-range plan, including project-specific information by region, can be viewed at www.mass.gov/eot.


According to Grabauskas, the Romney administration will gather feedback on the plan from around the state over the next several months and make necessary adjustments.





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