STEP is a community group dedicated to improving transportation in Somerville, MA. We advocate for the Green Line extension, a more livable city, and public health issues.
STEP has been a long-time partner in CAFEH, the Community Assessment of Freeway Exposure and Health Study, which serves as the larger umbrella for 5 related community-based participatory research (CBPR) air pollution studies. Their new report, “Improving Health in Communities Near Highways: Design Solutions from a Charrette,” summarizes effective design approaches to reducing near highway residents’ exposure to traffic-related air pollution. Specific locations in Chinatown and Somerville are used as case studies.
From the group Transportation for Massachusetts:
By now, you’ve seen plenty of articles, pictures, and tweets about the MBTA’s breakdown in this week’s snowstorm, along with mammoth traffic jams, detours and delays across the state. After many years of underfunding transit maintenance, upkeep and upgrades, a crisis like this was bound to happen.
Our elected officials need to hear from residents frustrated with the state’s massively underfunded public transit system. Will you add your name to the growing list of MA residents who want reliable and safe public transportation, roads, and sidewalks?
For workers, students, families, seniors and visitors all across the state, our MBTA and regional transit service must be improved and maintained to operate regardless of the weather. Winter conditions have exposed the worst of our transit systems, but regular riders know that we face unreliable bus and train service every day. Can you sign this petition and make sure the Governor and state legislature hear your voice?
Yesterday US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx came to Somerville to make it official: The federal government will pledge $996 million toward construction of the Green Line Extension. The news first came early last month, but Congress had 30 days to review the project before transit officials officially signed off on the agreement. Joining Foxx on the stage were Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone, US Senator Elizabeth Warren, US Representative Michael E. Capuano joined Curtatone, Governor Deval Patrick, and other officials.
Boston Globe: “US officials pledge to fund MBTA extension”
“We’re building more than a light rail line,” Curtatone told the audience of community members and other local officials gathered at Somerville High School. “We’re building the backbone of a resilient, sustainable economy.”
Somerville Journal: “Feds sign over $1 billion for Green Line Extension through Somerville”
“You never know what people are capable of until they get a shot. And today I am proud to tell you we are giving this community a shot,” U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said during the press conference.
NECN: “Green Line Extension in Boston Area Gets $1B From US”
“They’ve done their job,” U.S. Representative Michael Capuano, a former Somerville mayor, said at the ceremony held at Somerville High School. “But we need to keep it going, because this federal money will not come without state matching dollars. It’s not just given to us. It has to be matched. The state has lived up to its commitment so far. We have to make sure that the commitment doesn’t somehow fall off the table.”
Associated Press: “Feds announce $996M grant for Green Line extension project”
US Dept of Transportation blog: “MBTA Green Line Extension a glimpse of what’s needed –and possible– nationwide”
Big news today for the Green Line! The Federal Transit Administration announced it will pledge $996 million to the project. The remainder of the money will come from state bonds and $305 million in state operating funds. After years of hope and work toward New Starts funding, STEP is overjoyed at this important step toward making the Green Line a reality in Somerville.
Boston Globe: “US pledges nearly $1b for Green Line extension”
“It speaks legions to what we know, which is that we are one of the most transit-savvy and transit-loving communities. We say that, bar none, we believe this Green Line project is absolutely one of the best projects they could build in the United States.” – Beverly A. Scott, general manager of the MBTA
WBUR: “Federal Government Commits Nearly $1 Billion To Green Line Extension”
Boston Magazine: “Government Will Pay for Nearly Half of the MBTA’s Green Line Extension Project”
CommonWealth Magazine: “Feds set to provide $1b for Green Line extension”
Want to see all the latest images of what the Lechmere, Union Square, and Washington St stations will look like? These stations are now at 90% design, so we can really see the details of these future stations. Check out our map and click on the stations to see 3D renderings and site plans.
A research team led by Fabio Caiazzo of MIT recently quantified the impact of air pollution and premature death in the United States for the year 2005. They found that road-related particulate matter was responsible for about 19% more deaths, nationwide, than car crashes. Read all about it.
Our own Wig Zamore adds:
Unfortunately, the air pollution death valuation is WAY LOW because only traffic contributions to regional, as opposed to local, pollution are counted. Experienced and well regarded southern California environmental health scientists will soon publish a heath impact assessment study suggesting that in 2035 local traffic related air pollution in southern California will be responsible for as many deaths per year as total regional fine particle pollution. Given how much smaller the near roadway population is this is a stunning outcome!
This suggests that the total local and regional traffic pollution deaths are about three times what this article suggests. In general the colder a region is, the higher the ratio of local traffic emissions effects to regional traffic emission effects. Cold weather drives higher local primary pollution concentrations and gradients, warm weather drives higher regional secondary pollution concentrations.
Question 1 passed, repealing the 2013 law that automatically increases gas taxes according to inflation. Does that mean funding for the Green Line Extension is at risk? Fortunately, the answer is no.
At the Somerville Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner this past Wednesday, MBTA GM Beverly Scott very clearly stated that the GLX will not be affected by the failure of gas tax indexing. The MBTA had provided the Feds with a financing plan that took the possibility of elimination of gas tax indexing into account and they were OK with it.
One thing that GM Scott acknowledged at the meeting (reflecting on 10 years of community advocacy for the GLX) is that we have been waiting for this needed transit improvement for over 19 years.
The Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership is writing you to urge you to VOTE NO on Ballot Question 1 on Election Day, November 4, 2014. By voting no you want the legislation passed in 2013 indexing the gas tax to inflation to remain in effect.
After many years of advocacy and terrific community support, Somerville is benefiting from major transportation improvements. The new Orange Line station at Assembly Square is open. While the MBTA and MassDOT are committed to extend the Green Line Extension and Community Path these projects could be delayed or even jeopardized if the Commonwealth does not have a stable source of funding for transportation infrastructure.