T notes: FTA gives PVTA $2.4m grant

T notes: FTA gives PVTA $2.4m grant

UMass Lowell pays half-price for commuter rail

THE FEDERAL TRANSIT ADMINISTRATION on Tuesday awarded $366 million in bus infrastructure grants to 107 projects in 50 states, including a $2.4 grant to the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority in Massachusetts.

The authority, which serves 24 cities and towns in western Massachusetts, plans to use the money to convert its 110-year-old bus maintenance garage into a facility for paratransit operations and maintenance. The bus operations and maintenance work that had previously taken place in the existing bus facility are being moved to a new location in Springfield.

The Pioneer Valley Transit Authority is facing an operating deficit this year, and received an extra $2 million from the state to help cover its costs on top of its regular appropriation.

UMass Lowell will pay half-price

A pilot agreement negotiated between the MBTA and UMass Lowell will allow the school’s 20,000 students and employees to ride the commuter rail into Boston for free, with the university picking up half of the actual fare cost.

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Bruce Mohl

Editor, CommonWealth

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

About Bruce Mohl

Bruce Mohl is the editor of CommonWealth magazine. Bruce came to CommonWealth from the Boston Globe, where he spent nearly 30 years in a wide variety of positions covering business and politics. He covered the Massachusetts State House and served as the Globe’s State House bureau chief in the late 1980s. He also reported for the Globe’s Spotlight Team, winning a Loeb award in 1992 for coverage of conflicts of interest in the state’s pension system. He served as the Globe’s political editor in 1994 and went on to cover consumer issues for the newspaper. At CommonWealth, Bruce helped launch the magazine’s website and has written about a wide range of issues with a special focus on politics, tax policy, energy, and gambling. Bruce is a graduate of Ohio Wesleyan University and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He lives in Dorchester.

For UMass Lowell, the pilot will provide a way for students and employees to travel back and forth between Boston and Lowell at no cost to them and at a heavily discounted cost to the school. For the MBTA, the pilot is another attempt to fill seats when trains are traveling with relatively few riders.

“Not unlike the special weekend fare we’ve been piloting [$10 for unlimited travel on weekends], this is another effort to attract customers to trains with plenty of capacity,” T spokesman Joe Pesaturo said in an email. “In the case of the UMass Lowell pilot, the students will be traveling primarily on off-peak trains, which have many seats available. The fares and ridership will be reviewed as part of the pilot evaluation.”