Such a large project would likely require a mix of federal and state funds, and some components — such as the Route 9 improvements — could be paid for by the local communities and developers. In order to be eligible for federal funding, the interchanges need to be identified as top priorities by regional planners, and placed on long-range transportation plans.
“On the plus side, we’re not talking a Band-Aid,” said Matthews, the 495/MetroWest Partnership director. “That being said, any time a project is that expensive, it makes it harder to fund.”
Matthews said the political process around funding could prove tricky because I-495 separates Southborough and Westborough, and each community is in a different metropolitan planning organization. The regional bodies make decisions on how to spend transit dollars, and Matthews said the state should take a leadership role in coordinating them.
Denoncourt, the Southborough planner, said he doesn’t think I-495 is always given its due when it comes to transportation funding. “They do a lot of these studies, but there’s not a lot of money spent on 495,” he said. “I think it’s unfortunate.”
Cenizal, the project manager, said the recommendations could potentially be implemented piecemeal so that not all of the funding would be needed at once.
“These improvements can be made independent of each other,” Cenizal said. “You don’t necessarily need all of the changes to take place to see a benefit.”
Calvin Hennick can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.