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MassDOT Wins $335 Million Federal Grant for Allston Highway Megaproject

An aerial view of the aging viaduct in the “throat” section of Interstate 90 near Boston University, looking west toward the vacant former railyards where Harvard University aims to develop a new urban neighborhood of housing, office and lab space. Courtesy of MassDOT.

On Monday, federal officials announced the first major committment of federal funding for the Allston Multimodal Project, a massive realignment of Interstate 90 in Boston's Allston neighborhood.

"I am proud to announce that after advocacy to Secretary Pete Buttigieg and the Department of Transportation, we have secured $335.4 million in funding for the Allston I-90 Multimodal Project to reconnect (environmental justice) communities in Allston and Brighton that were unjustly severed from Boston's downtown and the Charles River," wrote Sen. Markey.

Later Monday evening, Gov. Healey's administration issued a press release confirming that the funding will come from the federal U.S. Department of Transportation’s “Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods Grant Program,” a funding program created in the 2021 infrastructure law.

The Reconnecting Communities program aims to "reconnect communities that are cut off from opportunity and burdened by past transportation infrastructure decisions."

Significant budget gaps remain

MassDOT had applied for $500 million through the Reconnecting Communities program in a grant application they submitted last fall. Monday's announcement fulfills about two-thirds of that request, and would cover less than one-fifth of the total cost of the $2 billion project.

In a briefing on the financing plans last August, MassDOT officials said that the project's financing plan would require at least $500 million in federal funding.

The Commonwealth had planned to match federal grants with an additional $1.2 billion from state taxpayers, including $200 million from Turnpike tolls.

The remaining funding for the project – about $300 million – would have come from local sources, including Harvard University and the City of Boston.

Nevertheless, Monday's commitment from USDOT represents MassDOT's first successful appeal for federal funding for the Allston project.

USDOT had rejected two earlier requests for funding for the same project through the federal National Infrastructure Project Assistance Program (popularly known as the "Mega" grant program).

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