Congressman Capuano, Senators Kennedy and Kerry Announce Funding for Transportation Projects

December 7, 2001 -- Congressman Mike Capuano, Senator Edward Kennedy and Senator John Kerry have secured funding for three important local transportation projects: the urban ring, the Longfellow Bridge and the Chelsea Street bridge. The funding was included in the Conference Report of the 2002 Transportation Appropriations bill.

The bill contains the following projects:

  • $1.75 million in funding for the construction of a new Chelsea Street Bridge in Boston. The Chelsea River is a vital link to the Northeast region's petroleum supply and in its current state creates potential environmental hazards. Currently, only single hulled tankers are small enough to maneuver through the bridge's narrow channel, with a mere two feet of clearance on either side of most ships.
  • $1.5 million for the Longfellow Bridge, a major transportation artery for cars, pedestrians and the MBTA Red Line. This funding will be used to begin the process of restoring this heavily traveled bridge.
  • $500,000 for the urban ring transit project. Upon completion, the ring will combine buses, light rail and rapid transit to provide a critical link for the City of Boston and its surrounding communities. The new link provides 24 new stations and connections to every MBTA commuter rail line, all four rapid transit lines, every major highway and more than half of the MBTA bus routes.

"When it is finished, the urban ring will connect much of Metropolitan Boston's existing transit system, creating a critical commuter option. The Longfellow Bridge is an important transportation link and historic landmark connecting Boston and Cambridge while the Chelsea Street Bridge serves as a gateway for most of New England's home heating oil and all of Logan Airport's fuel. This funding will help insure that these vital structures undergo necessary repair and renovation. I thank the Senate for their assistance in securing this money," Congressman Mike Capuano said.

Senator Kerry said, "Chelsea Bridge funding will help reduce the threat of accidents and solve a potentially enormous environmental hazard, while the restoration of the Longfellow Bridge will enhance this historic landmark over the Charles. Expanding public transportation through the Urban Ring is an important step in creating the commuter-friendly atmosphere we strive to achieve in Boston. This will help reach commuters currently left out of the loop and ease the burden of traffic congestion and pollution in Greater Boston".

Senator Kennedy said, "These funds are urgently needed for the renovation of the Chelsea Street Bridge. The bridge is essential for the energy security and economic viability of the entire area. I'm delighted we were able to obtain funds for this important initiative to help our communities accommodate to the new commuting patterns in the Greater Boston area. The Longfellow Bridge is essential for the safety and economic viability of the entire area".

Mayor Tom Menino said, "Our Washington delegation has once again delivered funds that will continue to move our region forward, strengthening the links between Boston and its surrounding communities. Infrastructure improvements to the Longfellow and Chelsea Street Bridges will help ensure the smooth and safe flow of traffic between Boston, Chelsea and Cambridge, while the urban ring will improve ties between Boston residents and businesses across the city and region".