Governor Paul Cellucci today announced three state transportation agencies are beginning construction on a regional transportation center that encourages commuters to leave their cars behind and travel in trains, planes, and buses. Cellucci joined federal, state and local officials in breaking ground on this unique project to convert a once-contaminated industrial site to a center for transportaion and commerce.
"This new Regional Transportation Center, the first of its kind in Massachusetts, will encourage more people to leave their cars behind and use alternative transportation," Cellucci said. "This site, once an eyesore to the community, will be transformed into a thriving development that will stimulate the local economy and perform a valuable public function."
The new 34-acre transportation center, on the site of the 250-acre Industri-plex industrial park, will house Massport's Woburn Logan Express bus service, MassHighway's Park and Ride carpool and the MBTA's relocated commuter rail service. The transportation center, located near the soon-to-be completed interchange off Interstate 93, will quadruple the parking spaces available to commuters. The Mishawam Station, currently home to Logan Express and the MBTA commuter rail, has just 600 parking spaces. The new center will have 2,400, enough to meet demand through 2015.
"Facilities such as this one play a major part in our efforts to encourage people to use more diverse forms of transportation during their commutes," said Transportation Secretary Kevin J. Sullivan. "In addition, not only will the future Woburn Regional Transportation Center take cars off the road, it will also give people an opportunity to take advantage of cleaner, affordable and efficient transportation options in and around the Boston area."
The site had been contaminated by more than 100 years of industrial use and presented significant environmental hurdles to overcome. In 1983, the EPA added Industri-plex to the Superfund National Programs List, making the site eligible for valuable federal funds and involvement in the clean up. In developing a plan to improve the site, the EPA focused on redevelopment of the property and bringing this site back into productive use.
The EPA completed remediation of the site in May 1998 and provided the transportation agencies with a Prospective Purchaser Agreement, as well as issuing an EPA Certicfication of the site, which was a prerequisite to the transportation agencies purchasing of the property.
"EPA's Superfund program is about more than cleaning up contaminated sites, it is about getting them back into productive use," said Mindy S. Lubber, Regional Administrator, EPA New England. "The New RTC and other developments at Industri-plex will bring important environmental and economic benefits to Woburn and to greater Boston, and it serves as a national example of how to revitalize formerly contaminated sites."
In addition to environmental improvements resulting from site clean up, the public-private partnership has resulted in a combination of public transportaion investments and new commercial development. It is expected to bring more than 4,000 permanent jobs and mare than $1 million in additional tax revenue to the state. Once the EPA eliminated the environmental obstacles and potential liability for the Industri-plex site, the transportation agencies created design goals for the RTC. Its design will create an inviting, welcoming feel to the facility that draws upon the look of historic train stations. Traffic flow will be streamlined for the ease of both frequent and occasional users, and passengers will be provided with first-rate amenities and concessions.
The total project cost of the Woburn RTC is $10 million with the transportation agencies splitting it three ways. The MBTA is investing another $7 million for track improvements.