MBTA officials said Monday they are concerned about keeping the $2.3 billion Green Line extension project on schedule after being told a key piece of it has fallen months behind.
John Dalton, who is overseeing the 4.7 mile extension, told the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority’s board that the overall project remains on time and that work crews can catch up before service on the route is scheduled to begin in late 2021.
“The fact that we are two years away from being done with this project means there is time to recover,” Dalton told reporters after the meeting.
But pressure is beginning to build. Work to relocate a set of existing commuter rail tracks that the new line will run alongside is now expected to creep into November — two months after it was originally scheduled, Dalton said. With winter approaching and construction spending expected to swell significantly over the next year, the details left board members uneasy.
“Count us as very worried,” said Joseph Aiello, chair of the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board. He later told Dalton: “Throw everything you’ve got at it. I can’t tell you how important it is to get this project on schedule, under whatever means and methods you can.”
While GLX representatives downplayed the risk of delay and said they have enough time to recover the original schedule, Fiscal and Management Control Board Chair Joseph Aiello told the project’s representatives “throw everything you got at it” to stave off a delay.
Referring to the board, Aiello said, “Count us as very worried.”
“It would be really, really, really damaging to not keep this project on schedule,” he said. “We’ve got to get this job on schedule for the people who are waiting for the service as well as the larger context of what we’re trying to achieve as an organization. This has got a lot of eyeballs on it.”
John Dalton, hired by the MBTA in 2016 to oversee the project, told reporters he does not believe the board should be worried about progress.
“There’s schedule changing all the time,” he said. “Some things are happening earlier, some things are happening later. This one’s happening later than planned. But the fact that we are two years away from being done with this project means there’s time to recover it.”
He said if timing was still off in a year and there were fewer opportunities to address any delays, he would “start to ask more direct questions,” but stood by his answer to Aiello that the project remains “on time.”