MBTA recieves federal grant for repairs

By Amanda Cedrone, News Staff

The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) will receive $54.1 million in federal grants to be used for operating assistance and repair improvements at various Orange and Red Line T stations including Braintree, North Quincy and Back Bay Station, according to officials at the MBTA.

The funding comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or the stimulus bill, and is part of a $72.5 million grant meant for transit improvements in Massachusetts. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced the grant March 5, followed by an announcement by Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration March 8.

“Rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure is a key part of that prescription for strength,”LaHood said in a press release. “It creates jobs today and builds a better, more sustainable economy moving forward.”

Alethea Pieters, spokeswoman for the Massachusetts Recovery and Reinvestment Office, mentioned some specific stations that will receive funding. They include Braintree, North Quincy and Ashmont stations on Red Line and Back Bay station on Orange Line. Funding will also be provided for operating assistance, water draining in tunnels, new security cameras and emergency station lighting.

Giselle Nekui, a sophomore business and finance major, said she appreciates the effort on the part of the MBTA.

“It’s difficult for them. It’s more costly to be more efficient,” Nekui said.

However, Katie Dohn, a senior Spanish and international affairs major, said she is unhappy with the Red Line stations chosen to receive some of the grant money.

“I think they should work on the Green Line because I think that it’s the crappiest [line] and needs the most improvements, especially for Northeastern students who use it the most,” Dohn said. “I personally don’t take the T as much as I used to because of the budget cuts; it takes forever.”

Pieters said deteriorated platforms and broken lights will be the focus in the Braintree station on the Red Line, while replacement of platforms will take place in the Quincy station on the Red Line. In Back Bay station, the leaky roof will be replaced and ventilation improved, Pieters said.

“I am under the impression that these improvements will make service run smoother and therefore prevent further delays [in MBTA service],” he said.

Colin Durrant, a spokesman for the MassDOT, explained the work that will be done at the Ashmont T stop. In the station, located on the Red Line, work will be done to finish roof sections, glass curtain walls, granite finishes, tile floors, bus and trolley canopies, lighting and bird proofing.

According to a press release from the MassDOT March 8, the work on the Braintree station will begin in June and will take about a year to complete. Pieters said the construction on the rest of the stations should begin at the same time. Durrant does not expect any service delays due to construction at this point.

“Most of these projects are critical infrastructure and repair projects,” Durrant said. “Until they move to the construction phase I can’t say but I wouldn’t expect they would cause any significant delays but instead will improve the experience for riders.”

Durrant said all of the repairs are vital and no one is more important or necessary than another.

“These investments coupled with the over $320 million in the American Reinvestment Recovery Act funding invested in transit will make long-awaited repairs and improvements to transit,” Durrant said.

The remaining federal funds will be distributed to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Greater Attleboro-Taunton Regional Transit Authority and the Southeastern Regional Transit Authority.

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