Green Line

Green Line
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Green Line Extension gets new manager

“New manager named to lead Green Line extension project” (Boston Globe)

“[John Dalton] brings a wealth of technical knowledge, as well as familiarity with the federal funding process and the process of engaging stakeholders,” Brian Shortsleeve, the MBTA’s acting general manager, said at the weekly meeting of the fiscal control board that oversees the T. Dalton is “exactly what is needed to drive the Green Line extension forward,” he added.

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Congressman Capuano’s Green Line summary

In a recent email, Representative Capuano shared his take on the current status and possible paths forward:

It’s been a few months since I’ve shared information about the Green Line Extension (GLX) so I thought it was a good time to provide an update on the status of the project.

Based on the information I have, here is where the GLX stands.  The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has been reviewing the MBTA’s updated submission detailing the project’s changes (i.e. station redesigns) and cost estimates.

  • The FTA seems to be in general agreement with the MBTA’s new project cost estimates as well as its revised project schedule;
  • The FTA seems to be in general agreement with the MBTA that project changes do not substantially alter the project.  This is good news because it means there is no need to start all over “at the back of the line”.

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Green Line update: Feds pretty happy, MBTA hiring

“Green Line extension getting close” (CommonWealth Magazine)

“Andrew Brennan, director of energy and environment at the T, said federal officials who are being asked to provide $1 billion for the project are now comfortable with the redesign. He also said the T is in the process of recruiting the top officials to manage the project, and has a written agreement with Cambridge that calls for the city to cover $25 million of the cost. A $50 million funding arrangement with Somerville is likely to be completed in November, he said.”

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The search for new Green Line contractors begins

“Contractors Sought for Green Line Extension Project: MassDOT” (Somerville Patch)

“The MBTA is currently seeking letters of interest from contractors as it prepares to begin the next phase of the Green Line Extension project.”

“MBTA begins Green Line extension contractor search” (International Railway Journal)

“MBTA intends to enter into a design-build contract with the best-value design-build entity that will be identified through a two-phase selection process, which includes a request for qualifications and a subsequent request for proposals.”

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Green Line Extension gets (mostly) supportive words from the Feds

“Feds have reservations about Green Line, but encourage state to move forward” (Boston Globe)

“FTA regional administrator Mary Beth Mello said the federal agency still needs a ‘good deal of clarifying information’ before signing off on the project and handing over nearly $1 billion in federal funding. ‘Your project schedule is mechanically sound, but optimistic – any delays in your schedule would most likely result in additional costs to the project,’ she wrote.

In her letter, Mello said that the proposed scope is consistent with what the FTA had agreed to fund, and the cost estimates were complete, well-documented, and conservative. But she said federal officials did not have all the information needed for a complete view of the risks associated with the project. Despite the reservations, Mello said the MBTA should continue moving forward by hiring a permanent managerial team, among other steps.”

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Two big transit projects had a $1 billion price increase. But only the Green Line was put on hold.

When the Green Line Extension estimate suddenly rose by $1 billion, the State immediately put the project on hold, seriously considered canceling it, and then greatly simplified it. But when another project, South Coast rail, not legally required, suddenly saw a $1 billion price increase, guess what? The State simply assured the public they would still complete this project, no problem.

This contradiction hardly seems fair to the Green Line.

“What South Coast rail has – and doesn’t have – in common with the Green Line extension” (Boston.com)

“Two long-awaited rail projects in different parts of the state saw their projected budgets increase by $1 billion or more inside the last year. But the state’s reaction to each has been very different.

The Green Line extension is projected to carry about 49,000 rides per day, according to state projections. South Coast rail is projected to create about 9,000.”

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A little more funding keeps the Green Line moving forward

T board OKs $15m more for Green Line ext.” (CommonWealth Magazine)

“[T]he T has spent $4.5 million of a $6 million authorization and needs up to $15 million more to move ahead with developing specifications for a future construction contract….Federal officials are coming into town this week for meetings where they are expected to say how they view the T’s redesign. He said the T should have a much better handle on whether the federal government will provide the $1 billion after those meetings.”

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Now Somerville has to find $50 million for the Green Line

“How will Cambridge and Somerville pay for the Green Line extension, anyway?” (Boston.com)

“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.”

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Green Line contracting method not a panacea

“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.”

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New Green Line plan gets support from key federal official

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.

“Key federal official supports redesigned Green Line project” (Boston Globe)

“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.”

Read the full letter.

“Federal Transit Official Offers Boost To Redesigned Green Line Extension” (WBUR)

“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.'”

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