Transit officials meet about Arborway Yard

February 1, 2013
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FOREST HILLS—Following a recent meeting with state Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Secretary Richard Davey, the Community Planning Committee for the Arborway Yard (CPCAY) is hopeful for the project’s long-term future.

“[Davey] reaffirmed a very strong commitment to seeking funding to complete the Arborway Yard. It was a key point he made more than once,” CPCAY Chair Henry Allen told the Gazette. “We’re feeling a little more optimistic.”

The Arborway bus yard, located at Washington Street and the Arborway, was built as a temporary facility nine years ago and is four 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 is expected to cost around $220 million, with $30 million already spent.

The project will also cede nearly eight acres of the current property to the City for future development that could include low-cost housing, commercial space and further green space.

While no immediate action was decided at the Dec. 14 meeting with Davey and Boston Transportation Department Commissioner Thomas Tinlin, a few long-term strategies were discussed for building the long-overdue permanent Arborway bus yard.

“Our hope is that the state might assume funding for some capital projects, which would enable the Arborway Yard to get back into the CIP,” Allen said. “That’s one possible avenue. It’s a moving target.”

The Capital Investment Program (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. The Arborway Yard has not been included in the last several CIPs.

Mayor Thomas Menino “has been extraordinarily helpful,” Allen said, and has “made it very clear to Davey that he [Menino] considers this project a high priority.”

“We’re going to keep pushing,” Allen said.

The CPCAY has been fighting for a community-friendly facility on the site for 14 years, when the MBTA decided to close Bartlett Yard in Roxbury. Its next meeting was scheduled for Jan. 30, after the Gazette’s deadline.

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