Olver Transportation Center one of Sierra Club’s best transportation projects in nation

GREENFIELD — The $15.1 million John W. Olver Transportation Center has been recognized by the Massachusetts Chapter of the Sierra Club as one of the best transportation projects in the nation.

The Sierra Club has announced its inclusion, along with the Amtrak Rerouting project, in the club’s new national report, “Smart Choices, Less Traffic: 50 Best and Worst Transportation Projects in the United States.”

“This is great,” said Franklin Regional Transit Authority Administrator Tina Cote. “We’re flattered and excited to be on the list.”

Cote said the idea for the 24,000-square-foot transportation center at the foot of Bank Row “all started with plans for regional transportation.” The copper-clad building opened for business in May.

She said eventually all types of public transportation, including trains, will serve the transportation center, which serves now as a station for Franklin Regional Transit Authority buses and also houses FRTA and Franklin Regional Council of Governments offices.

“We’re excited to be expanding our routes and plan to eventually welcome rail,” said Cote.

The Sierra Club, the nation’s oldest and largest grass roots environmental organization with 1.4 million members and supporters, as well as chapters in all 50 states, highlighted in its report the need to move beyond oil and pointed to the Amtrak Rerouting and the transportation center as examples of the kinds of projects that are and will continue to set the standard.

“I am proud that Greenfield is again being recognized for its energy-saving initiatives,” said Mayor William Martin. “Greenfield has a great railroad history and we look forward to again being a center for efficient railroad transportation.”

Included in the project were 7,300 square feet of photovoltaic panels, 22 geothermal wells, and a “green,” zero-net energy building, which means it is designed to produce as much energy as it uses.

Cote said she believes rail travel will come back to Greenfield within the “next few years.”

“We’re very proud of this project,” said Cote. “We have a green building, our own bus routes and we have Peter Pan and Greyhound coming and going from here. It truly is a regional transportation center.”

Cote said FRTA will continue to expand on the services offered at the transportation center.

“Transportation infrastructure we build today will be with us for decades,” said Paul Jablon, a Greenfield resident and Sierra Club member.

Jablon said the projects will eventually bring Amtrak and other trains back to the new transportation center in Greenfield and then to Northampton.

He said it is “exactly the kind of infrastructure we need as part of a 21st Century transportation system that increases our choices.”

For more information about the Sierra Club report, visit: www.sierraclub.org.

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