Federal, statewide, and local officials on Monday celebrated the opening of the new Pawtucket-Central Falls Transit Center, a rail-bus center that will provide a combination of commuter rail and bus services in an emerging area of transit-oriented economic development in Pawtucket and Central Falls.

The center will allow riders to switch modes of transportation easily between commuter rail operated by the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) and RIPTA’s statewide bus network, making it easier and more convenient for many Rhode Islanders traveling to and from Boston and other destinations in Massachusetts.

The opening of the Pawtucket-Central Falls Transit Center is the culmination of years of planning and completion of a $63 million design-build project that RIDOT began four years ago. More than two-thirds of the project cost, approximately $43 million, was paid for with federal funds, including a $13.1 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) grant and a $7 million Bus and Facilities Grant, both from the FTA, as well as $20 million in funding as part of the FTA’s Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) Improvement Program.

“This new station is a major addition to Pawtucket, Central Falls and all of Blackstone Valley, supporting economic development efforts in these communities while providing tremendous transit options for all Rhode Islanders and those visiting our great state,” said Governor Dan McKee.

“This long-awaited station is a key link in a broader economic development strategy for Pawtucket and Central Falls. I am proud to have led efforts over the last two decades to deliver federal investments to complete this state-of-the-art transit hub. In addition to providing efficient, reliable transportation options for commuters, it will drive private investment, economic growth, and opportunity for the whole area,” said Senator Jack Reed, who first secured a federal earmark for the station planning in 2004 and who helped create the competitive TIGER grant program as a way to spur tough-to-finance projects like this that have a significant impact on a region or metropolitan area.

The new Pawtucket-Central Falls Transit Center will greatly benefit the residents of the two cities and the Blackstone Valley, providing them with a convenient, reliable, and efficient transportation option that will improve their quality of life and support economic development in the region.

Additional information, including directions and schedules is available at www.RideTheRailsRI.com.

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What'sUpNewp.  Belmore has been involved with What’sUpNewp since shortly after its launch in 2012, proudly leading it to be named Best Local News Blog in...