Green Line

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WGBH: MBTA Board would like third party to review Green Line estimates

“MBTA Board Wants 3rd-Party Review Of Green Line Extension Cost Overruns”

Board member Steven Poftak wants a neutral third-party authority to answer why construction costs rose so dramatically between January and May of this year and even if the current projections can be trusted. “What went wrong here and what changed so radically from the beginning to the end, I think, is really important for us to have any confidence in this going forward.”

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Green Line extension roundup: Anxiety, anger, and hope

Boston Globe: Tough choices on Green Line project, but it isn’t derailed yet

“Even in the face of stomach-churning runaway costs, the governor is going to find a way to get the Green Line extension done. Greater Boston needs it – and he can’t risk losing nearly $1 billion of federal money for the project.”

Boston.com: “The long, depressing history of Green Line extension cost increases”

Why is the State so bad at estimating these costs, again and again?

Boston Globe: Developers, buyers anxious about Green Line project’s future

“The Green Line extension will lead to economic growth, job creation, revenue generation as well as environmental and quality of life improvements,” a spokesman for the redevelopment team [Union Square Associates] said in a statement. “In the long run, we are confident that the project will move forward because the stakeholders share these objectives and because the cost of not proceeding is enormous.”

WGBH: “‘Oh, God. Here We Go Again. It Never Stops’ – Mike Capuano On The T Green Line Overrun”

Boston Herald: “Capuano: Must continue Green Line plans”

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Support for the Green Line extension is spreading fast

Check out the following excellent editorials, the first of which is from former State Transportation Secretary James Aloisi.

CommonWealth Magazine: “Stay the course on Green Line Ext.”

“Support for the Green Line Extension is support for a 21st century mobility platform, for cleaner air, for a more robust regional economy.  Those of us who support it need to join together to support completion of this project – but not completion at any cost.  Completion must come after hitting the restart button, re-assessing the wisdom of the current approach to building the project, and putting in place public and private sector project managers who will get the job done in a fiscally responsible way.”

Boston Globe: “Green Line extension shouldn’t stop short”

“Baker’s administration has been appropriately aggressive in seeking savings in T projects, and eager to prove the agency doesn’t need more money to thrive. But the administration’s no-new-spending line shouldn’t turn into an unthinking dogma. It’s in the strong interests of the Commonwealth to finish the Green Line extension; jettisoning investment in infrastructure might be politically safe in the near term, but the public ultimately pays a price. Baker’s job is to make the extension happen. The train should be as cheap as possible, but it needs to arrive.”

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Green Line cost estimate suddenly jumps an insane amount; could project be in jeopardy?

MBTA officials announced yesterday that the Green Line Extension might need $700 million to $1 billion more, shocking many. Why the huge jump? Good question. This project was already costing a lot more per mile than similar transit expansions across the country. Some say the problem is that the State chose to go with a more unusual contract/construction method called Construction Manager/General Contractor (overview), which was supposed to save money but likely isn’t. Some say the State should revisit their choice of WSK to conduct this work.

In any case, this is a huge gap and it’s not clear what happens next. The State could find money elsewhere or cut costs by simplifying station designs or even eliminating stations – or, worst case, try to cancel the entire project. A few things to keep in mind:

  • The State is still legally obligated to build the Green Line extension. They’d have a hard time canceling it.
  • If they try to mess with the current plan too much, they could jeopardize the $1 billion they’re getting in federal money. As you can imagine, no one wants to lose that.

Cross your fingers in the weeks ahead. This is a big deal.

Boston Globe: “Green Line extension could cost another $1 billion”

Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack said the state must now consider several options to bridge the shortfall. “Everything is on the table, and everything includes canceling the project,” said Pollack. “But that’s not where we want to go.”

WBUR: “Ballooning Cost Throws Future Of Green Line Extension Into Question”

An early phase of building a new Lechmere Station, a spur to Union Square, and Washington Street Station in Somerville was estimated to cost $387 million this past winter when the Federal Transit Authority approved almost $1 billion in federal funding.

White Skanska Kiewit, which has been assigned construction of the project under a unique procurement process, now estimates construction of those first three stations to cost $898 million throwing into question the affordability of the plan to build a total of seven stations ending near Tufts University.

Boston Herald: “Green Line project could go $1B over budget”

“Everyone in the region is depending on this project,” Cambridge Vice Mayor Dennis Benzan said. “Not moving forward with it would endanger billions of dollars in economic development.”

Somerville Patch: “Budget Crisis Could Derail Green Line Extension Project”

View MBTA’s PowerPoint presentation to the Fiscal Control Board.

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Boston MPO locks in federal Green Line funding

The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization approved $1.4 billion in federal funds for the Green Line Extension! That’s $1.27 billion for Phase 1, which is under construction to Union Square in Somerville and College Avenue in Medford (and includes the Community Path), and $158 million for Phase 2, which will extend service from College Avenue to Route 16. The reality of better public transit is getting closer and closer.

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Video fly-through of the coming Community Path

Watch the video below to see progress on the future Community Path. A 3D video “fly-through” starts about 24 minutes in. You can also download the slides.

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Latest Green Line station designs

Just a reminder that the latest plans and designs for the future Green Line stations can be found at greenlineextension.eot.state.ma.us. Here are the key links:

Also helpful are the construction schedule page and the construction overview page.

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New plans for College Ave Green Line station

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Medford Transcript: “Plans for new College Avenue Green Line station unveiled”
The multi-purpose building will benefit both Medford and Tufts University. Plans include public meeting space, commercial space, educational space, neighborhood walkways and a footbridge over Boston Avenue to connect the train station to Tufts University.

Tufts Now: “New Academic Building Planned for T Station”
Tufts and the MBTA have signed an agreement granting the university a 99-year lease for the air rights. The arrangement calls for Tufts to pay for associated project redesign and construction changes to previous plans for the Green Line station in Medford, as well as ongoing maintenance and security around the station.

Video of announcement:

 

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The new cars for the Green Line Extension!

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Can’t wait!

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Green Line funding video

Watch the January 5 event during which the federal pledge of $996 million was made official!

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