July meeting notes
- We met in the VNA 1st floor private dining room on July 25 from 7 to 9 PM
- Attending: Ellin Reisner, Gabriel Distler, Karen Molloy, Wig Zamore, Rachel Fichtenbaum
- Artbeat was great! STEP got a lot of visitors, there was a big crowd around the McGrath table, and lots of people went to the Path table as well. The Friends had people write a note in support of the Path. We all had a great location! Thanks to everyone who volunteered.
Volkswagen Emissions Legal Settlement
- 2-liter and 3-liter engines were in violation. It has been determined that the 2-liter engines can’t be fixed.
- California put together a $14.7 billion settlement. Comments on the draft settlement are due August 4. Wig has been following this closely and plans to send comments to the EPA as well as Attorney General Maura Healey.
- Of the $14.7 billion:
- $10 billion to car owners
- $2 billion to support zero-emissions vehicles and electric vehicles. Charging stations have to be universal, can’t be constructed to only work for VW cars
- $2.7 billion to states, proportional to the number of 2-liter vehicles each state has with a minimum of $7.5 mil per state. MA will be getting $69 million.
- The money to states can go to anything that reduces diesel emissions particles. Key criteria they will use to choose projects: emissions density, population density, environmental justice, and realistic implementation timeframe in the not too distant future.
- Potential projects that could be proposed: Community Path, diesel electrification of a commuter rail line, EMUs for the Indigo Line
GLX & CPX Updates
- GLX progress is slow while the MBTA works on hiring senior staff to oversee it
- In the fall we can ask for a public meeting for an update
- We will continue helping the Friends push to make sure the Path is part of bid alternatives
- The WGBH podcast on GLX is now online: http://blogs.wgbh.org/scrum/2016/7/21/scum-live-somerville-status-glx/
Regional Transportation Funding Bill
- Transportation for Massachusetts is advocating for passage of a state bill that would allow towns and cities to raise their own funding for transportation projects.
- Although concerns were raised that this could lead to inequity where wealthy towns can raise money for projects and less affluent towns cannot, we think it is necessary to be creative about how transportation is funded. Many former Secretaries of Transportation think that regional funding is the way to go
- Ellin to check on position of legislative delegation
Medford & Pearl Intersection
- Road is still closed, construction equipment still there, even though the construction ceased a long time ago
- Karen will ask the Mayor about this
- Monday, August 15, 7-9PM, VNA 3rd floor community room
- If there are no pressing agenda items, we will cancel this meeting