“Massachusetts has long deserved an accessible and equitable T for all.”

The MBTA will receive more than $66.6 million in federal funding to make accessibility improvements to its Symphony Station, which serves the Green Line’s E Branch. The Boston Globe

The MBTA will receive more than $66.6 million in federal funding to make its Symphony Station more accessible, transit officials announced Monday.

The 80-year-old station, which serves the Green Line’s E Branch, will see raised platforms for easier boarding, four new elevators, accessible bathrooms, and improved lighting and wayfinding signage, the MBTA said. 

The MBTA’s Symphony Station accessibility improvements are several years in the making. 

“As part of the Green Line Transformation, the MBTA Capital Delivery team is working on major improvements to make Symphony Station fully accessible and safer for customers,” the MBTA said in a statement. “Surrounded by major cultural and educational institutions, Symphony Station is currently not accessible.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration awarded 15 grants in nine states, with a goal of modernizing older transit stations to make them more accessible to people with disabilities and mobility needs, the agency explained in a news release.

Funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the approximately $686 million in grants represents the first round of funding from the new All Stations Accessibility Program, according to the release.

“Every day, millions of people rely on our public transit system to get to work, buy groceries, and see their loved ones — yet today, three decades after the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, hundreds of transit stations are still inaccessible for travelers with disabilities,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg said in the release. “The All Stations Accessibility Program is going to change that by adding wheelchair ramps, elevators, and more.”

According to the FTA, inaccessibility remains a significant hurdle in rail systems built before 1990, also known as legacy systems. More than 900 transit legacy stations are not fully accessible, the agency noted.

Writing to FTA Administrator Nuria Fernandez in September, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey voiced their support for the Symphony upgrades. 

“The proposed work at Symphony will open a world of cultural and employment opportunities for people with disabilities in and around the Boston area,” the pair wrote, citing the station’s proximity to Symphony Hall, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, and other local landmarks. 

The MBTA said design work for the project is 100% complete, and the agency has a contract in place to start utility relocation in the spring — a process that won’t impact Green Line service.

The MBTA plans to solicit bids for the station work in the fall of 2023, with work slated to begin in 2024. 

“Whether you’re heading to the symphony or on your daily commute to work, Senator Markey and I fought hard to ensure this federal infrastructure funding will help make riding the T a better experience,” Warren said in a statement following Monday’s grant announcement.

The station improvements benefit everyone, she said. 

“An accessible public transit system is one that allows anyone — including seniors and people with disabilities — to call themselves a rider,” Markey said, adding, “Massachusetts has long deserved an accessible and equitable T for all.”


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