Commuter rail stations to be reconstructed separately, with Newtonville first

Newton is a little closer to having its commuter rail stations renovated, but it looks like they’ll be done one at a time.

Mayor Ruthanne Fuller announced on Friday that the MBTA has applied for the federal All Stations Accessibility Program—which provides funding for capital projects improving access to public transportation.

Newton’s commuter rail stations are notoriously lacking when it comes to access for people with disabilities. But the MBTA is facing budget constraints and is separating work on the three stations, with Newtonville set for Phase 1.

“The terrain in Newtonville allows for one central platform which is less expensive than building two platforms,” Fuller wrote in an email update.

The West Newton and Auburndale stations need two platforms, making those projects more complicated and more expensive.

Fuller said the MBTA has committed to rebuilding the other two stations after Newtonville is complete, but there’s no word on how much funding the state and federal governments will provide for those projects. In total, the work on the three stations is expected to cost about $200 million.

The MBTA will host a community update on Zoom next month to give details and a timeline for the Newtonville commuter rail project, which is likely to cost about $60 million. Fuller said that with the ASAP grant and money available from the MBTA, the entire Newtonville station project may be funded and ready to start immediately. 

“While I would have preferred the full funding now for all three stations, I’m hopeful that this strategy will be successful and we will move forward more quickly with a funded plan for improving the first commuter rail station for Newton,” Fuller wrote. “Please know that I’ll keep advocating for all three stations.”