U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood today spoke at the grand opening of the Wickford Junction commuter rail station and launch of a commuter line service to T.F. Green Airport. Secretary LaHood was joined at the event by U.S. Senator Jack Reed, Governor Lincoln Chafee and local officials.
"President Obama is advocating an all-of-the-above energy strategy that includes bringing more sustainable public transportation choices to urban corridors like this one in Southern Rhode Island," said Secretary LaHood.
"Extending this commuter rail service will help reduce area congestion while opening the door to jobs and economic opportunity for South County's shoreline communities."
The station received $59 million in federal funds, including $25 million from the Federal Transit Administration's New Starts Capital Program and more than $4 million from the Recovery Act. It will be served by 10 north- and south-bound trains on weekdays and is expected to carry as many as 1,500 riders a day. Commuters will have access to an on-site garage with bike racks and 10 charging stations for electric and hybrid electric vehicles.
The new commuter rail service extends the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's (MBTA) existing commuter rail service 20 miles to the state's southeastern communities, including North Kingston, Wickford, and Warwick. Traveling by rail will take travelers from Wickford Junction to Providence in about 35 minutes and to Boston in less than two hours. Driving these routes at peak travel times often takes considerably longer. The project is part of the South County Commuter Rail Project, a 20-mile rail extension along Amtrak's Northeast Corridor from Providence to the South County Region.
"Adding commuter rail to the mix of transportation options provides a real choice for Rhode Island commuters and is a huge win for transit riders and drivers alike," said Federal Transit Administrator Peter Rogoff, who attended the station groundbreaking in 2010. "For residents in Warwick, Wickford, and Kingstown, this project will reduce congestion on I-94 and Route 4 and allow commuters to spend far less money at the gas pump."