Healey-Driscoll Administration Submits Competitive Federal Grant Applications

The Healey-Driscoll administration announced it has submitted federal grant applications to support the North Station Renovation and Draw 1 Bridge Replacement project as well as three other state projects, which represent a competitive bid for over $2 billion in federal funding to support sustainable, equitable, and safe transportation projects across the Commonwealth.  

Sponsored under the U.S. Department of Transportation, the Biden Administration accepted applications for the FY 2023-2024 Multimodal Project Discretionary Grant (MPDG) Opportunity with a deadline of August 21, 2023, for application submission. The MPDG is an umbrella term for three competitive grant programs issued under a joint Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO). These programs are: the National Infrastructure Project Assistance grants program (MEGA), the Nationally Significant Multimodal Freight and Highways Projects grants program (INFRA), and the Rural Surface Transportation Grant program (Rural). The Healey-Driscoll Administration applied to all three funding programs as part of its competitive application process to secure federal dollars for Massachusetts infrastructure projects.  

“From day one, we said our administration was going to compete for the unprecedented level of federal funding opportunities available to support infrastructure projects across our state that are crucial to our communities, economies, and environment. These ambitious applications represent an important step forward toward delivering on that promise,” said Governor Maura Healey. “We are grateful for the partnership of our state and federal delegations and our shared commitment to delivering results for the people of Massachusetts, from our rural, urban and coastal communities.” 

“It’s hard to overstate the important impact these projects have on the lives on Massachusetts residents and our economy. They represent the gateway to beautiful beaches and towns of the Cape, a transformative opportunity to better connect multiple modes of transportation, improved commuter rail service, and an investment in our rural communities,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “Our administration is proud to be putting forward competitive, ambitious applications to support these projects and take advantage of the unprecedented levels of federal infrastructure funding made available by the Biden administration.” 

“MassDOT understands the needs of our residents and is using every opportunity we have to gain funding for these impactful projects,” said Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary Gina Fiandaca. “From roads and bridges to pedestrian pathways, we need to be strategic, proactive, and resilient to best serve the people of Massachusetts. I want to thank the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and our elected delegations for their support as we submit these applications to better infrastructure for all.” 

“These grant applications are part of our whole-of-government strategy for effectively leveraging President Biden’s historic investments of federal funds to make Massachusetts more competitive, equitable and climate resilient,” said Director of Federal Funds and Infrastructure Quentin Palfrey. “If awarded these projects will further important goals for community connectivity and access to multimodal transit across the Commonwealth.” 

The MBTA is seeking $672 million in grant funding from National Infrastructure Project Assistance (MEGA) program and the Nationally Significant Multimodal Freight and Highways Projects (INFRA) program for the construction phase of the North Station Renovation and Draw 1 Bridge Replacement Project. 

Draw 1 is a critical connection that carries all MBTA Commuter Rail traffic on the north side of Boston across the Fitchburg, Lowell, Haverhill, and Gloucester/ Newburyport Lines. It is the last crossing before these trains terminate at North Station. Draw 1 is also a critical asset for Amtrak’s Downeaster, as ten Downeaster trains traverse the bridge into Boston per day. This Project will support improved service, facilitating the growth of this critical New England route.  

The existing bridge structure and associated signaling and control tower are outdated and in need of significant repair and maintenance, leading to service delays. In addition to replacing the bridge and upgrading signals, the project will also widen a bottleneck across the bridge from four to six tracks and extend and activate two additional tracks at North Station, resulting in significant operational improvements, strengthened service, and anticipated reduced congestion. 

“The project to replace the North Station drawbridge is crucial to ensuring that we can safely and reliably provide train service in and out of North Station. It will allow us to operate trains more efficiently as we expand the number of tracks across a new bridge,” said MBTA General Manager and CEO Phillip Eng. “This is a significant investment in our MBTA system to better serve the public, and we are confident that our forward strategy to pursue and secure federal funding will help us meet our capital needs. I want to thank the Healey-Driscoll administration for their leadership and support and our dedicated Finance team for their diligent work. This project is another step to fulfill our commitment to rebuild the MBTA system for our riders and for future generations.”

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