Governor Deval Patrick and Lieutenant Governor Timothy Murray today joined Congressman John Olver in Greenfield to celebrate the grand opening of the John W. Olver Transit Center. Funded by the federal stimulus American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), the innovative $12.8 million regional transit center will support public and private transit services in Franklin County, including future passenger rail service along the "Knowledge Corridor" Connecticut River line. The ceremony also served as an opportunity to honor Congressman Olver after a career in Congress that spanned 11 terms.
"We are here to not only celebrate this amazing transit hub that, thanks to President Obama's commitment to getting Americans back to work by infrastructure investments created jobs and made our Commonwealth more energy efficient, but also to thank Congressman Olver for a career that has spanned many decades," said Governor Patrick. "Without Congressman Olver's steadfast commitment to both energy and transportation, we would not be celebrating here today."
In 2009, the transit center was the first "shovel ready" stimulus project to move toward construction. Under Governor Patrick's leadership, $2.62 billion in ARRA funding has been spent to complete 398 projects and programs across the Commonwealth.
"Transportation is the enabling network of our economy, and regional transit services deliver critical transportation resources for local commuters including businesses, students, seniors and other residents," said Lieutenant Governor Murray. "Thanks to the leadership of Congressman Olver, who has been an incredibly valuable partner to this region, federal stimulus funds have supported the development of an innovative transit center that will increase transportation options and economic development in downtown Greenfield and across the region."
"I am pleased to see this innovative investment in the future of transportation and green energy come to fruition and honored by the name designation given to this modern facility," said Congressman Olver.
The transit center will house the offices of the Franklin Regional Transit Authority (FRTA) and Franklin Regional Council of Governments and is expected to be a catalyst for additional investment and redevelopment in downtown Greenfield. The completion of the Knowledge Corridor rail project, funded by a $72 million Federal Railroad Administration High Speed Rail award, will allow for a future Amtrak passenger rail stop at the transit center and is also expected to fuel economic development in the region.
"With transit ridership at near-record levels across the country, it's essential that we continue to invest in modern, sustainable transit facilities that make it easier for hard-working families in Franklin County to get where they need to go," said Administrator Peter Rogoff of the Federal Transit Administration. "Projects like the John W. Olver Transit Center will give the people of Massachusetts the option of keeping more of their hard-earned money in their pockets instead of spending it at the gas pump."
The 24,000-square-foot "net zero" building is designed to drastically minimize energy use through energy efficiency measures and other design features, including the potential for on-site renewable energy generation. The building's net-energy consumption over the course of a year will be zero. To accomplish this goal, some of the energy saving technology that the center will utilize includes:
7,300 square feet of photovoltaic panels.
22 geothermal wells.
A southern solar wall will create a heated space from which pre-heated air is pulled into the heating system.
A mostly windowless western brick wall facing Bank Row with a brick screen and the use of copper screens on east-facing office windows will keep heat out and filter daylight in.
The building will not be air conditioned. Instead, it will be cooled by air that is pushed down from the second story.
Backup heat will be provided by a wood-pellet boiler.
The American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy recently ranked Massachusetts first in the nation in energy efficiency, citing the Patrick-Murray Administration's clean energy agenda, which includes the Green Communities Act of 2008 and other innovative programs and policies to save energy and create jobs.
"This energy efficient transit facility is not only a fitting tribute to Congressman Olver, it also successfully fulfills two priorities of the Governor and Lieutenant Governor -- expanding transportation services in all regions of the Commonwealth and building a future that is environmentally sustainable," said Massachusetts Department of Transportation Secretary Richard A. Davey.
"When you combine cutting edge design, zero net energy engineering, a downtown location that unites trains and busses and a project that has been an important part of our Recovery program, it is not surprising that this Center has such strong support," said Jeffrey A. Simon, Director of the Massachusetts Recovery & Reinvestment Office. "The foundation of the Governor's commitment in the Recovery program has been to put people back to work building great projects for the future. The Olver Center clearly fulfills that commitment."
"From the day he took his first oath of office more than 40 years ago, John has been the embodiment of public service, bringing equal measures of determination and foresight to everything he did as a legislator," said Senator Stan Rosenberg. "This building is a fitting tribute to John because it commemorates two elements of his character: as the first zero-net-energy transit center in the country, it honors his idealism and commitment to preserving our environment, and as a place people will use to get from point A to point B, it honors his practical nature. Naming this building for John Olver is without question the proper thing to do."