Today is a big day for public transit and energy innovation in Western Massachusetts as Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff joins Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Congressmen John Olver and James McGovern for the opening of the John W. Olver Transit Center in Greenfield.
This is no ordinary bus depot. It's what we call an intermodal hub because it was designed to offer people access to several different options and connections for getting where they need to go--all in one place.
The center will serve as bus terminal for the Franklin Regional Transit Authority as well as the region's inter-city bus service. In addition, it will be served by all private transit providers serving the region and all regional paratransit service for riders with disabilities. Taxi and bicycle access have also been incorporated into the state-of-the-art center.
And, when upgrades on Amtrak's Vermonter line are complete and inter-city rail service once again connects Greenfield with the rest of New England, the Olver Center will also feature a passenger rail platform.
The new center is built in the heart of downtown Greenfield. It returns the idle site of a former auto dealership to productive use and supports the region's economic development goals.
We know that when you create safe, reliable, and convenient service, people choose transit. The added capacity, shelter from the weather, and amenities offered by the Olver Center will create precisely those conditions so Franklin County residents can ride transit and spend less of their hard-earned income at the gas pump.
As FTA Administrator Rogoff said, "It’s essential that we continue to invest in modern, sustainable transit facilities that make it easier for hard-working families in small cities like Greenfield to get to work, to school, to medical appointments and other destinations."
And, as part of President Obama's continued "all-of-the-above" energy strategy, the center will feature more than 7,300 square feet of photovoltaic panels, 22 geothermal wells that plunge 400 feet underground, and passive solar heating and skylights to provide natural lighting and reduce heating, air conditioning, and electrical demand. In fact, the Olver Center is Massachusetts' first net-zero transportation hub, meaning that its net-energy consumption over the course of a year will be zero. Not only will this conserve fossil fuels; it will also save the Franklin Regional Transit Authority money on utility expenses.
That's quite an achievement for a 24,000-square-foot public building.
President Obama is committed to investing in transportation projects like the Olver Intermodal Center to help reduce our dependence on oil, relieve congestion, and improve air quality. America is ready for more good projects like this that create good jobs for our friends and neighbors, help us secure our energy future, and give people real choices for getting to their destinations.