As I've written about many times before, innovative transportation planning can help improve communities and increase opportunities for residents and businesses. Two newly completed projects will help the people of Rhode Island experience these benefits firsthand.
On Monday, Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff traveled to Warwick, RI, for the first day of commuter rail service at the T.F. Green Airport. He joined Governor Donald Carcieri, Senator Jack Reed, and Rhode Island transportation officials to celebrate the completion of a critical passenger rail route that connects Warwick, Providence, and Boston.
This connection was made possible by the newly-opened InterLink intermodal transit facility. Attached to the airport by an impressive 1,200-foot elevated, enclosed skywalk, the InterLink houses the new MBTA commuter rail service, a rental car center, a six-level parking garage, and a hub for local and intercity buses.
Taken together, these projects add up to an integrated transportation system that offers travelers in Rhode Island and the Boston metropolitan area a seamless way to move from trains to buses to planes to cars.
Now that's a real multi-modal success story.
And it was made possible because of smart investments at the federal, state, and local level. DOT's Federal Highway Administration did its part by funding more than half of the InterLink project, with over $166 million in direct grants and loans. And the Federal Transit Administration awarded $40 million to enhance commuter rail service along the corridor, purchasing rail cars and building a six-track rail yard for vehicle storage.
So what does all of this mean for folks traveling and commuting in the Ocean State? For business travelers, it means easier, less congested access to and from this bustling area. For tourists, it means less hassle and more time to see the natural beauty and historic sights of New England. And for commuters, it means more time to spend with family.
Better travel options. New economic opportunities. Reduced congestion. And more livable communities.
There's no question about it: this is a big win for Rhode Island and the entire New England region. And we're proud to be a part of it.