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.
“Businesses continue making strategic investments along existing and planned light-rail lines, demonstrating their conviction that light rail is a valuable asset to local communities along these routes,” said Metropolitan Council Chair Adam Duininck.
“The turnaround has hardly been dramatic, featuring incremental steps over months as officials pulled back the scale and cost of the project, brought aboard [project manager John] Dalton — a former Chicago Transit Authority official — and received agreements from Cambridge and Somerville to contribute a combined $75 million toward the extension with a projected $2.3 billion new price tag.
‘We’ve kind of already begun the procurement process,’ Dalton told the News Service on Monday. He said there is ‘real momentum’ behind the project now.”
The latest step for the Green Line Extension, which was scaled back last year, is the filing of the official Notice of Project Change to the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. The new design, like the previous design, is expected to comply with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA).
“GLX Files Project Change Notice With Environmental Affairs” (Somerville Patch)
Our beloved Green Line Extension is #28 on this list of “Emergency and National Security Projects” coming out of the Trump administration. Some might say it’s on the list because the funding has already been allocated and he can easily try to take credit for it. In any case, let’s build it!
“Green Line extension makes Trump’s infrastructure list” (Boston Globe)
“Rafael Mares, a senior attorney with the Conservation Law Foundation, which backs the project, welcomed the news that the expansion is on Trump’s radar. ‘Obviously, I appreciate that the Green Line extension is on that list,’ Mares said in a phone interview. ‘It’s a really important transit project.'”
“The GLX project is the 28th item in a list of 50 projects contained in a presentation obtained by The Kansas City Star and The News Tribune, of Tacoma, Washington, which published a copy of the document online. The newspapers said the document was ‘circulated within the congressional and business communities,’ but did not explain how they obtained a copy. According to the document, the Trump administration is seeking $137.5 billion in total investment for the 50 projects. Half of that would come from private investments.”
“T building out Green Line Ext team” (CommonWealth Magazine)
“John Dalton, the T’s point person on the Green Line Extension, also said he has hired four other employees to help him oversee the project, leaving only two vacancies on his seven-person team….The T is meeting Wednesday and Thursday with federal regulators to complete a risk assessment of the project that will go a long way toward determining whether the Federal Transit Authority feels confident enough to release the $1 billion it has set aside for the Green Line Extension. One of the chief concerns of federal regulators has been whether the T has sufficient management expertise to oversee the project and keep costs under control.”
From Rep. Provost’s email newsletter…
On December 10, 2016, I was invited to give a presentation as part of a program titled “Reviving Federal Investment in Public Transit: Build Subways, not Submarines.” The program, held at MIT’s Stata Center, was expected to draw 50 -75 people; 125 from around the region attended, and an overflow room with a video screen had to be set up to accommodate those present. It’s encouraging to me that so many people care enough about transit to give up half a Saturday in December, to be informed and energized about it.
The topic that program organizers asked me to speak on was “Building the Green Line Extension (GLX) We Need.” Since Somerville folk tend to be wholly on board with transit funding, and with GLX in particular, I wasn’t surprised that not many attended the December 10 program. I do, however, want to let those who did not attend know what I had to say about the GLX, so here is my text:
“First, I want to make a disclaimer about my remarks. They represent my views only; not those of the City of Somerville, other members of Somerville’s legislative delegation, or of any organization. It is, however, a Somerville-centric view of the GLX, because that’s my patch.
“Aldermen approve Green Line funding in ‘momentous vote'” (Somerville Journal)
“Citing public support and an in-depth due diligence process during recent weeks, the Board of Aldermen unanimously voted to approve $50 million to fund the Green Line Extension on Dec. 8.
Without municipal contributions from Somerville and Cambridge, city officials emphasized, the project would not proceed.”
“Somerville Aldermen Approve $50M Green Line Extension Funding” (Somerville Patch)
“Thursday’s vote allows the city to bond the money toward the project; it will not begin to impact tax bills for three to six years depending on the terms of the bond…. The city will continue to seek alternate funding, particularly from developers, in order to reduce the tax burden on residents.”
Here’s the short version of the latest schedule:
Underway: Evaluating and selecting the Design-Build contractors
Feb 2018: Construction begins
June 2021: Union Square station opens
Sept 2021: Other stations open
For more details on the process, the Community Path, view the State’s presentation from this week’s public meeting.
“New Green Line stations are delayed until 2021” (Boston Globe)
“John Dalton, the new project manager for the $2.3 billion extension, spoke about the new timeline at Somerville High School on Wednesday night and said the public should be confident that the T could complete the project in time. ‘There’s real momentum now,’ he said. But the project still needs to clear several hurdles, including hiring a new team to work exclusively on the project, getting the green light for a major grant from the federal government, and filling a $75 million funding gap.”
“Green Line Extension Projects 2021 Opening” (Somerville Patch)
“It was a scaling back of the Somerville Community Path, a key commuter thoroughfare for bicyclists and pedestrians, that would ultimately draw the most ire from residents….Ken Carlson, chair of the Somerville Bicycle Committee, said safety is a main concern of his group in light of recent bicyclist deaths. He cited the October Porter Square crash that killed his friend and colleague, Bernard ‘Joe’ Lavins. ‘It is going to cost lives,’ he said of the decision to not extend the path. ‘[This is] money versus lives, money versus safety.'”
“Dalton to bike proposed Green Line ext. path” (CommonWealth Magazine)
“Advocates for the community path are holding out hope. At a meeting this week with Dalton, they came away with a pledge from him to join them in riding the route of the proposed path sometime in January. They said Dalton will learn first-hand how penny-wise and pound-foolish it would be to leave the path unfinished, a message dozens of them delivered at the Thursday meeting.”
“Massachusetts U.S. Rep. Mike Capuano: ‘I’ve never been concerned about the specific date a station opens as long as the project moves forward, and right now, I feel pretty comfortable that it is. I said right from the day they announced it, it was never going to make the dates they said…. Most people that are engaged in this project are aware that the timing is secondary, and the most important thing is to get the project built.'”