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Governor guarantees funding for Mystic River Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge

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  Governor Charlie Baker has assured state and local officials that money will be available to fund the construction of the Mystic River Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge. “One way or another it’s going to get paid for and it’s going to get done,” he said during an October 22 press conference at Encore Boston Harbor, adding that the Massachusetts Gaming Commission has committed $650,000 to fund the final design. “It’s a huge outdoor opportunity for so many people. We can’t wait to put shovels in the ground to get this bridge built.”

  With a price tag of $49 million, the bridge will be 12 feet wide and will span 785 feet connecting Encore with the Assembly Square MBTA station in Somerville. Within the total cost, $37 million will be used to build the bridge and $12 million will be used to construct a new entrance connecting the bridge with Assembly Station.

  In July, the Baker-Polito Administration requested $25 million from the U.S. Department of Transportation under the RAISE Grant Program. Federal grant officials are expected to announce their decision by November 22. If the application is approved, construction would take approximately two to three years to complete.

  “Today brings us one step closer to completing the vision of a truly transit-oriented city,” said Mayor Carlo DeMaria. “I’m totally overwhelmed to be here and to finally get some access to a T station. Getting rid of cars is what we need to do and we’re heading there.” He also said the bridge will be incorporated into the 25-mile Mystic River trail system.

  In addition, DeMaria said Everett has 3,000 units of new housing with the potential for another 15,000 units. However, for that happen, a series of public transit improvements, such as the electrification of the Commuter Rail, will be necessary.

  Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone said the bridge is the result of city officials working together. “It’s people giving a damn about where they live and about their city,” he said.

  However, he said Somerville’s greatest partnership has been with the DeMaria Administration. “Mayor DeMaria, from day one, has pushed this project,” said Curtatone. “I look forward to this project advancing. Carlo, when I say, ‘come on over to Assembly,’ you can just walk over.”

  Kathleen Theoharides, secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs, said that since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic the usage of parks and trails has skyrocketed by 300 percent. “Getting outside and being active has been a great silver lining of the pandemic,” she said, adding that Baker has invested nearly $1 billion to fund an environmentally-friendly economic recovery.

  Theoharides also spoke about the bridge’s transportation benefit. After missing her exit and arriving at Encore 25 minutes later than expected, Theoharides said, the bridge will be a “great option compared to taking a vehicle.”

  “We’re trying to find ways to make things more walkable and more bikeable,” she said.

At Encore Boston Harbor on October 22, Mayor Carlo DeMaria spoke about the proposed Mystic River Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge as Governor Charlie Baker looked on. (Photos Courtesy of the City of Everett)
A rendering of the Mystic River Pedestrian Bridge that will connect the Northern Strand Community Trail and the Harborwalk Connector to Draw Seven Park in Somerville. (Photo Courtesy of MassDOT)
Governor Charlie Baker said that “one way or another” funding will be available for the construction of the Mystic River Bicycle and Pedestrian Bridge.
Mayor Carlo DeMaria and First Lady Stacy DeMaria

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