PAWTUCKET, RI -- U.S. Senator Jack Reed today joined with the Rhode Island Public Transit Authority (RIPTA) and Pawtucket Mayor Donald R. Grebien in announcing more than $5.6 million in newly awarded federal grants for bus facility upgrades and service improvements for Pawtucket.
Reed, the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation Housing and Urban Development (THUD), said that RIPTA has been awarded $5,636,745 in funding through a “Buses and Bus Facilities” grant program administered by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA). These federal transit dollars will enable RIPTA to build amenities for bus passengers near the new Pawtucket/Central Falls Commuter Rail Station being planned for the city, making it a true intermodal facility.
“This is good news for Pawtucket. I commend Mayor Grebien and RIPTA for putting together a strong application, and I know they will work together to put these funds to good use enhancing service for passengers. These federal funds should help upgrade bus stops, enhance safety, and improve transit services,” said Senator Reed.
“We are so pleased to receive the news that these needed dollars will be available to our state to help create first-rate bus amenities for riders here in Pawtucket,” said Mayor Grebien. “The vision has been to create a multimodal transit hub that will allow everyone, including pedestrians and cyclists, to easily travel to and from Pawtucket and access all our great city has to offer. This grant is another significant step, on the heels of the recent TIGER grant award, toward achieving our shared vision. Special thanks is owed to Senator Reed and our entire federal delegation for their tireless work that is creating real results for all Rhode Island communities.”
In applying for the grant, RIPTA stated that its goal is to build a new bus hub adjacent to the new Pawtucket/Central Falls Commuter Rail Station that is being planned for Pawtucket near the Central Falls border between Barton Street, Conant Street, Goff Avenue, and Dexter Street. That project, which is being partially supported by a $13.1 million federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant recently awarded to the Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT), is expected to open by 2020.
RIPTA said that the new transit center will include several bus berths with enhanced amenities for passengers such as digital signage with real-time information letting them know when their next bus will arrive, ticket vending machines, and an enclosed waiting space. The entire bus hub project is expected to cost about $7 million with funding also being contributed by the City of Pawtucket, RIPTA, and the State of Rhode Island. RIPTA officials said that bus routes will be realigned to serve the new hub with a half-mile long enhanced transit corridor with high frequency service.
“We fully appreciate the continued support of Senator Reed and our entire federal delegation,” said Raymond Studley, Chief Executive Officer of RIPTA. “With the commuter rail station that is planned, this will allow us to bring trains and buses together in Pawtucket. This is a great opportunity to build another intermodal facility,” he said, noting that RIPTA is working with RIDOT on a larger transit hub planned for Providence.
Currently located in the Blackstone Valley Visitor’s Center building at the corner of Main and Roosevelt Streets, the Pawtucket bus hub is the second busiest hub in RIPTA’s statewide system with eight routes offering more than 300 weekday bus departures and connections to Providence, Central Falls, Cumberland, East Providence, Lincoln, Warwick, and South Attleboro, MA. More than 4,000 passengers board or alight there every weekday. RIPTA has been looking for a new location in the city for a couple of years since its lease at the current location expires in 2017. The new commuter rail station is about a half mile west of the existing bus hub.