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 Meeting Notes ~ June 6, 2016
Who & Where
We met in the VNA Community Room on June 6 from 7 to 9 PM
Attending: Ellin Reisner, Lynn Weissman, Alan Moore, Rachel Fichtenbaum, Gabriel Distler, Karen Molloy, Wig Zamore, Max Morrow, Rachel Burckardt
Upcoming Outreach Opportunities
Artbeat is July 16. Karen sent a detailed email about getting ready
“In Somerville, Curtatone has described the planned $50 million contribution as ‘frustrating’ but ‘necessary.’ State Rep. Denise Provost compared state transportation leaders to ‘Somali pirates’ because of the municipal funding requirement. And while aldermen have said they will likely approve the spending, they have done so begrudgingly.”
“T contracting process for Green Line isn’t a sure bet” (Boston Globe)
“As the agency now continues to debate a $2.3 billion Green Line extension into Somerville and Medford, consultants hired by the MBTA say it should again use that contracting method – called design-build – to construct a new, scaled-down version of the project….
In the design-build model, firms join to bid on the project and work together throughout the process. Some prefer the process because it can speed up construction and allows the companies to catch cost overruns and design problems.”
Who & Where
We met in the VNA Community Room in May 16 from 7 to 9
Attending: Ellin Reisner, Steve Mulder, Jim McGinnis, Kristie Chase, Lynn Weissman, Alan Moore, Heather Van Aelst, Bob Neeson, Rachel Fichtenbaum, Jonah Petri, Gabriel Distler, Karen Molloy, Andrea Y, Wig Zamore
Good news: the Federal Transit Administration’s regional administrator has expressed support for the scaled-down version of the Green Line Extension that the state has tentatively approved. This is critical, since the project won’t move forward without FTA approval and the $1 billion in federal funds previously promised.
“Mary Beth Mello, the Federal Transit Administration’s regional administrator, also said that the federal government needs to thoroughly evaluate the details of the plan before it can give the official green light….The FTA ‘must have every confidence the MBTA can deliver the entire scope of the redesigned GLX within the specified budget and schedule,’ Mello wrote.”
“Though the words of support from the FTA are preliminary, Mello in her letter dated May 20 said she ‘commend[s] the [interim project management team] for its diligence and extraordinary efforts to revive the Green Line Extension in the face of your fiscal challenges. We look forward to working with you to see the GLX through to completion.'”
“After Green Line extension, Mass. needs a new policy” (Boston Globe opinion)
“When the Commonwealth makes a significant investment that will benefit one or two communities more than the state as a whole, it is fair to ask them to contribute….This approach, however, should not begin and end with the Green Line extension. When the state expands our transportation system by building a new off-ramp, widening a road in a congested community, or increasing parking at a commuter rail station, that effort benefits specific communities, and they should be expected to contribute.” – US Representative Michael Capuano
“When they did the studies for I-93, they knew that the lead would go up by a factor of four in the neighborhoods along I-93, to way above any reasonable level,” says Wig Zamore, who works with STEP to advocate for air quality issues. By the time it was built, the state was moving funds away from highways and into public transit. But federal money had already been committed, so officials pressed on with the construction of I-93.
“Boston and Cambridge remember [the time] as a watershed, positive event,” says Zamore. “In Somerville they had already gotten some commitment of federal funds, and the state decided to go ahead with I-93 notwithstanding the studies that showed it to be detrimental.”
“The real choice is not between maintenance and expansion, but whether or not we will make the comprehensive investments needed to secure our future….What we can afford today is just not sufficient for the state’s future. We – all of us – are building our legacy, and it is past time for a unifying vision of transportation that will meet our needs, supported by the commitment and the funding to make this vision a reality.”