Northeastern officials joined Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, other state and local transit officials, and federal, state, and city leaders on Tuesday to break ground on a $38.5 million infrastructure improvement project at Ruggles Station. The university has played a key role in coordinating and securing funding for the project—particularly the initial $20 million federal grant in 2014, as well as more than $11 million in state matching funding—as part of the public-private collaboration.
The Ruggles project includes a new 800-foot commuter rail platform, a pedestrian underpass under the busway ramp, and accessibility improvements such as a new elevator and wider sidewalks. “I very much appreciate the support, help, guidance, and assistance we’ve gotten from our colleagues in Washington, our colleagues in the city of Boston, and the folks at Northeastern,” Baker said.
Ruggles Station connects Northeastern’s campus on either side of the rail tracks and serves as a critical transit hub for members of the university community and the public. A key facet of the project involves increasing the number of inbound commuter rail trains that are able to stop at the station; currently, about 30 percent of inbound trains bypass Ruggles due to the current platform’s physical limitations and congestion along the corridor from MBTA and Amtrak trains. Construction on the project is scheduled to be completed in 2019.
Ralph Martin II, senior vice president and general counsel at Northeastern, called Ruggles Station “a vital connector” for the Roxbury, Mission Hill, and Fenway communities, and for the Northeastern community.
Martin noted that the project continues the university’s commitment to reinvigorate the Columbus Avenue corridor in ways that will benefit both Northeastern and the university’s surrounding neighborhoods. This effort includes the new Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering Complex as well as a $100 million investment to transform and maintain the city-owned William E. Carter Playground. Northeastern is also planning a pedestrian bridge over the rail tracks that will connect both sides of campus and the surrounding communities.
“We’re proud to be part of this great venture,” Martin said of the Ruggles project, “and we look forward to the benefits that will come to all of the communities that surround these tracks.”