Arborway Yard grant is denied

November 4, 2011
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Project still on hold

The Arborway Yard was not approved for a much-hoped-for federal grant, keeping the project on hold until the MBTA finds the projected $170 million to $220 million needed for construction.

The Arborway bus yard, located at Washington Street and the Arborway, was built as a temporary facility eight years ago and is three years overdue to be replaced by a permanent facility. The permanent facility is ready to begin being built as soon as funds are located.

“It’s disappointing, obviously. Discouraging. The reality is that we’re not in a good place,” said Community Planning Committee for the Arborway Yard (CPCAY) Chair Henry Allen. “We’re going to continue to press [the MBTA] and advocate [for the project]. [The MBTA] has to do the right thing and fund this project.”

“At this date, there is not an alternative financing plan for the project,” MBTA spokesperson Joe Pesaturo told the Gazette.

But Allen said the CPCAY intends to use the grant denial to its advantage.

“I think [the project] has broader and deeper support than it has ever had,” he told the Gazette. “We need to build on that support, drawing on elected officials more than ever before.”

“We’ve got to engage the governor directly on this. He needs to see the importance of this,” Allen continued.

The CPCAY’s next meeting is scheduled for Nov. 17.

“Hopefully we’ll have a plan [by then] for our next steps,” Allen said. “We’re really going to carry this fight forward until the funding comes through.”

The CPCAY has been fighting for a community-friendly facility on the site for 13 years, when the MBTA decided to close Bartlett Yard in Roxbury.

The project was not included in the version of the MBTA’s Capital Investment Program (CIP) approved in April, despite months of lobbying by the CPCAY, Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation (JPNDC) and elected officials. The MBTA has already spent $30 million developing the project.

The CIP is the MBTA’s five-year investment plan. While inclusion in the CIP is not a guarantee of funding, projects not included in the CIP will not be funded.

“We’re certainly going to press the MBTA to include this in the [upcoming] CIP,” Allen said.

The Federal Transit Authority (FTA) announced the State of Good Repair (SGR) grant winners on Monday. It gave out 101 SGR grants this year.

The biggest single grant was to the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) for just under $50 million, to “replace vehicles in its fleet that are beyond their useful lives.” The MTA received over $112 million in SGR grants this year.

About a fifth of the SGR grants were for over $10 million. The MBTA did not win any SGR funds.

There is no limit for any single grant under the FTA program. However, according to the program’s documentation, the FTA intended to fund as many projects as possible.

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  • Oren Elow

    It ills me to hear that the Arborway Yard MBTA grant has been denied after all the work Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation, the Community Planning Committee for the Arborway Yard and elected officials have put in to trying to get this grant approve that it was denied. Like Chair Henry Allen of the CPCAY said, “We’re going to continue to press the MBTA and advocates for this project . . .”