PAWTUCKET, R.I. (WPRI) — After two decades, the Pawtucket-Central Falls Transit Center finally opened Monday morning.
The train station, located on Pine Street, adds a stop to the MBTA Providence/Stoughton line, connecting the Blackstone Valley with Boston. The first train left shortly before 4:30 a.m.
The station was originally set to open last summer, but the project was delayed due to labor and supply chain problems.
Gov. Dan McKee joined members of the state’s Congressional delegation, local leaders, and other elected officials at 9 a.m. for a ceremonial ride to the station from Providence.
“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,” McKee said.
(Story continues below video.)
The project began 20 years ago with an idea by former Pawtucket Mayor James Doyle. Current Mayor Donald Grebien told 12 News he is excited to see it come to fruition.
“This really is an opportunity for Pawtucket,” Grebien said. “We are now connected in a major way to Boston and Massachusetts and Providence, we’re a much better community, and we’re much more financially affordable.”
“This new station will create new economic opportunities for Rhode Islanders, and it’s also a major opportunity for travelers to get to know one of the best parts of our state,” Lt. Governor Sabina Matos added. “Riders disembarking at Pawtucket-Central Falls will get to dive right into the food, art, and culture that make these cities unique! Investments in robust public transit make it easier for visitors to discover and fall in love with our state.”
The city of Pawtucket invested one to two million dollars into the $63 million project, which is a collaboration between the MBTA, R.I. Public Transportation Authority, R.I. Department of Transportation, and city of Central Falls.
More than two-thirds of the project (about $43 million) was paid for with federal funds, officials said. That includes a roughly $13 million Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant and a $7 million bus and facilities grant from the Federal Transit Administration.
“It’s a good investment, it’s a wise investment for the city because this is not just a transit center. This is about economic development,” Sen. Jack Reed said. “This transit center will spur economic development in Pawtucket, Central Falls. It will lead to new businesses, it will lead to new residential places all through these two cities. It’s a key link to Boston. It will be a game changer.”
The station will also feature 200 parking spots and a RIPTA bus hub. An additional 200 parking spots and bathrooms will be under construction in 2023.