In August 2010, I blogged about Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff attending the groundbreaking for Rhode Island's Wickford Junction rail station:
When you break ground on a rail link that will connect a community to Rhode Island's busiest airport and also to New England's two largest cities, that's good news. And when you create jobs in the process, that's good news.
Today, I'm happy to say there's even better news because yesterday the new Wickford Junction station opened for business --ahead of schedule and under budget.
It's a terrific project, and I was happy to celebrate the station's opening with Governor Lincoln Chafee, US Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, Congressmen James Langevin and David Cicilline, and Rhode Island DOT (RI-DOT) Director Michael Lewis.
The 20-mile extension of MBTA commuter rail service to Warwick, Wickford, and North Kingstown will make a world of difference to commuters by improving access to thousands of jobs between Providence and Boston. Service will include 20 trips per day Monday through Friday to T.F. Green Airport, Providence, and Boston's South Station.
"It's a 22-minute ride from Wickford Junction to Providence on the new service. It could take you 45 minutes to an hour on Route 4 and I-95. And also with the price of gas going up and the environment and so forth, it's just a better way to travel."
And when commuters choose transit, that benefits those who choose to drive by taking cars off the road. As RI-DOT Director Lewis said, “The continuation of commuter rail into North Kingstown will bring much-needed congestion relief to the South County corridor."
Because of the convenient access the new commuter rail extension offers, the station is also expected to open the door to jobs and economic opportunity for South County’s shoreline communities and for communities along MBTA's service between Wickford Junction and Providence.
In the end, this is exactly what Americans in communities all across the country are asking us to do: put their friends and neighbors back to work building transportation alternatives that will give them more affordable, efficient, and reliable options for reaching their destinations.
“Commuter service at Wickford Junction Station will make additional transportation possibilities available to a whole new segment of Rhode Islanders,” said Governor Chafee.
Jobs, quicker commutes, economic development, and saving at the gas pump--that's good news for the people of the "Ocean State." And, thanks to the hard work of our Federal Transit Administration, it's the kind of good news the Obama Administration and DOT have been delivering from coast to coast. We're putting Americans' hard-earned tax dollars to work where it matters most, right in their own communities.