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The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) is planning a two-part improvement project for the station in Providence, which serves more than 1 million Amtrak and Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority riders each year.
To date, the department has identified $1 million for the first part of the project, which is anticipated to cost $5 million to $6 million, RIDOT officials said in a prepared statement.
The first phase will include short-term infrastructure repairs and aesthetic improvements, such as reconstructing a plaza on the station’s downtown side, and improving access and visibility on the station’s Francis Street side, said RIDOT Director Michael Lewis.
“The Providence Train Station is a major transportation gateway to downtown Providence," said Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee. “Because of its significance in terms of rail ridership, it is important that this facility reflect the stature of our capital city."
Preliminary engineering and an environmental review for the project’s second phase is being funded with $3 million from the Federal Railroad Administration's high-speed rail (HSR) program.
The funds will help RIDOT analyze long-term HSR improvements, including modifying the Providence station tunnel to provide better movement between freight and passenger trains. RIDOT officials also plan to evaluate new access points to the station and the creation of additional parking.
Construction for those long-term projects will depend on future federal HSR funding, RIDOT officials said.
Project stakeholders include Amtrak, the city of Providence, the Providence Foundation, the Capital Center Commission, Capital Properties, Metro Park, Providence Place Mall and other adjacent businesses.
Construction on the first phase could begin in spring 2013, RIDOT officials said.
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