Healey offers few details on I-90 Allston financing
Seeks federal funds, state bonds, aid from Boston, Harvard, and BU
A clarification has been added to this story.
THE HEALEY ADMINISTRATION filed a series of federal grant applications on Monday for four high-profile transportation initiatives, but withheld details about the financing package for the I-90 Allston project.
A press release issued during the afternoon indicated the state was seeking a total of more than $2 billion in federal funding for four projects — $1.45 billion for construction of a replacement for the Sagamore Bridge to Cape Cod; $672 million for a drawbridge replacement for trains entering North Station; $200 million for the I-90 Allston project; and $44 million to modernize and reconstruct Route 9 in Williamsburg.
The Healey administration earlier leaked details about its finance plan to replace the Sagamore Bridge initially and build a replacement for the Bourne Bridge later. The I-90 Allston grant application offered a chance to see how the Healey administration planned to finance the project, which would lower the Turnpike to ground level and straighten it as it passes through Allston to make way for a new neighborhood being developed by Harvard University. The project also calls for the construction of a new MBTA bus and commuter rail station.
Last year, the Baker administration sought $1.2 billion in federal funding for the I-90 Allston project and came up empty. The Healey administration this year is seeking only $200 million as part of the so-called MEGA grant program. According to Healey’s spokeswoman, Karissa Hand, the state will also seek “significant funding” next month under a federal grant program designed to reconnect communities and neighborhoods. She did not say how much federal money the state will apply for next month.
“We expect the Allston I-90 Multimodal project to ultimately be funded with a mixture of federal grant funds, state contributions that will combine bonding and additional financing opportunities, and crucial direct funding from key project partners: the City of Boston, Harvard University, and Boston University,” Hand said.No details were provided on how much each of the project partners would contribute or how the state bonds would be financed. Financing options could include revenue from the millionaire tax or toll revenues, although Senate President Karen Spilka has objected to using toll revenues to finance the project in the past. (CLARIFICATION: Spilka has objected to raising tolls to pay for the project.)
According to the grant application press release, the I-90 Allston project “builds a safer, more efficient multi-modal transportation network. When built, the total number of annual crashes on the I-90 mainline in 2040 is projected to significantly decrease. There will also be improved bicycle and pedestrian accommodations with upgrades to the Paul Dudley White Path. There will be improved neighborhood access to the transit and the waterfront, reconnecting Allston to the Charles River Waterfront. This project incorporates connection improvements to Environmental Justice communities.”