By Ted Nesi
PBN Web Editor
NORTH KINGSTOWN â€“ The R.I. Department of Transportation will receive $4.4 million from the federal government to build a parking garage and platform at the new Wickford Junction train station in preparation for the expansion of MBTA commuter rail service there.
The new funding was announced Friday by the stateâ€™s congressional delegation. The MBTA is scheduled to begin running commuter rail trains to the station next year.
â€śAt a time when the state faces a lack of funding to meet transportation needs, this investment in Wickford Junction Station will expand commuter rail service to South County, providing new transportation options for thousands of Rhode Islanders,â€ť U.S. Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., said in a statement.
Reedâ€™s office said he had secured nearly $29 million in federal money for the Wickford Junction project over the years.
The train station money was part of more than $13 million in federal transportation funding for Rhode Island announced by the delegation.
The largest grant was $8.8 million for the R.I. Public Transit Authority to pay for maintenance work, new bus shelters and operating shortfalls. A smaller grant will help fund the purchase of a new hybrid bus.