BOSTON (AP) — The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has approved a $159 million contract to help build a commuter rail link from southeastern Massachusetts to Boston.

The contract approved Monday by the MBTA's board includes new train stations in Freetown and Fall River, construction of a layover facility, and work on 12 miles of track for Phase 1 of the South Coast Rail project.

“When complete in fall 2023, Phase 1 will connect southeastern Massachusetts and Boston, providing riders with a one-seat trip from Taunton, Fall River, and New Bedford to Boston in less than 90 minutes,” the T said in a release.

The MBTA estimates South Coast Rail will be an $8 billion project requiring five years of capital investment. Taunton, New Bedford and Fall River are the only major cities within 50 miles of Boston that do not currently have commuter rail access to Boston.

The contract installs or repairs track infrastructure, train layover space, grade crossings, bridges, parking lots and stations, state Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said in a statement.

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