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Capuano: Cities should pitch in for future transportation improvements

“After Green Line extension, Mass. needs a new policy” (Boston Globe opinion)

“When the Commonwealth makes a significant investment that will benefit one or two communities more than the state as a whole, it is fair to ask them to contribute….This approach, however, should not begin and end with the Green Line extension. When the state expands our transportation system by building a new off-ramp, widening a road in a congested community, or increasing parking at a commuter rail station, that effort benefits specific communities, and they should be expected to contribute.” – US Representative Michael Capuano

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Scout Somerville remembers our environmental struggles

“Before The GLX, There Was I-93″

“When they did the studies for I-93, they knew that the lead would go up by a factor of four in the neighborhoods along I-93, to way above any reasonable level,” says Wig Zamore, who works with STEP to advocate for air quality issues. By the time it was built, the state was moving funds away from highways and into public transit. But federal money had already been committed, so officials pressed on with the construction of I-93.

“Boston and Cambridge remember [the time] as a watershed, positive event,” says Zamore. “In Somerville they had already gotten some commitment of federal funds, and the state decided to go ahead with I-93 notwithstanding the studies that showed it to be detrimental.”

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A better alternative for the Community Path

Are you as concerned as we are by the state’s ideas for a cheaper Community Path? The smart people at Friends of the Community Path have some great ideas for a better alternative that still brings down the cost.

View their proposal and also check out their budget.

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T4MASS on why the Green Line is critical to our future

“GLX and Statewide Vision”

“The real choice is not between maintenance and expansion, but whether or not we will make the comprehensive investments needed to secure our future….What we can afford today is just not sufficient for the state’s future. We – all of us – are building our legacy, and it is past time for a unifying vision of transportation that will meet our needs, supported by the commitment and the funding to make this vision a reality.”

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What would a barebones Green Line station look like?

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“What a scaled-down Green Line extension would look like” (Boston.com)

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Boston Globe editorial in support of the Green Line Extension

“All aboard for the Green Line expansion” (Editorial)

“Now that the control board got what it wanted from Cambridge and Somerville, it’s especially important for Baker and Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack to live up to their end of the bargain. It’s time to drop the conditional: Their job is to figure out how to finish the extension, not whether. The control board, hand-picked by Baker, endorsed the pared-down plan, and the state ought to be all-in now.”

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A Community Path on McGrath Highway? No way.

“Community Paths Scaled Back To Keep Green Line Extension Alive” (CBS Boston)

“Will the Community Path Make the Cut?” (Somerville Neighborhood News)

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Conservation Law Foundation: Green Line must go to Route 16

“Conservation Law Foundation Director Insists Law Requires GLX To Go Further” (WBUR)

“Foundation Director of Environmental Justice Rafael Mares joined Morning Edition to discuss how he believes the fight over the Green Line Extension project may not be over.”

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Media coverage of the big Green Line decision

“State to go ahead with scaled-down Green Line extension” (Boston Globe)

“State transportation officials voted Monday to move forward with a scaled-back version of the embattled Green Line extension, but they made clear that they could still cancel the project if the state runs into more trouble financing it….

‘We’ve got a way forward, and let’s take that path forward,’ said Robert Moylan, a member of the MassDOT board. ‘We are not going to be the board that will deny the project. The project will be denied on its own weight if it doesn’t come in on its own budget.'”

“Scaled-Down Plan For The Green Line Extension Will Move Forward” (WBUR)

“The new plan, which is estimated to cost $2.3 billion, will go to the Federal Transit Administration, which also must approve the modified proposal….State transportation officials will also need to ensure the financing is realized for the new estimated project cost.”

“The Green Line extension is moving forward, but the saga is far from over” (Boston.com)

“On paper, we have a plan for preparing and delivering it, but there are still some money problems that need to be resolved before the boards are ready to sign on the dotted lines,” Pollack told reporters following the meeting. “The boards’ clear preference is to proceed with the project if there’s a way to pay for it.”

“GLX gets crucial go-ahead vote, but with strict conditions” (Somerville Journal)

“Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone said he was ‘satisfied’ with the vote and was ready to move on to the next steps. ‘There’s plenty of optimism to be had here, we’re going to keep it going,’ he said after the meeting.  ‘I feel really good about it. There will be a ribbon-cutting some day,’ he added.

“Green Line Extension Plan Inches Ahead” (Boston Patch)

“Despite slim hopes of an up or down vote Monday, the MBTA and MassDOT boards first forwarded the project to the Federal Transit Administration, awaiting its stamp of approval before formally moving ahead. The boards also voted to begin work on a new finance plan and project management system in interim. Additionally, board members made clear the project could yet be axed, should it come in above budget.”

“Board approves scaled back Green Line extension with conditions” (WCVB with video)

“Officials Vote To Take Next Step On Green Line Extension” (CBS Boston with video)

“MBTA Green Line extension project budget balloons to $2.3B” (Boston Herald)

 “MBTA board approves scaled-back $2.29 billion Green Line Extension proposal” (MassLive)

“Scaled Down Green Line Extension Approved” (NECN)

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GREEN LINE EXTENSION MOVES FORWARD! (with conditions)

The Green Line lives!

It was a meeting that began with passionate comments from the public and elected officials. And hours later, it ended with the right decision.

The state transportation board and the MBTA’s fiscal control board have voted unanimously to move forward with the scaled-back plan for the Green Line Extension and Community Path.

This decision is not a guarantee. There are conditions, and the project could still be canceled down the road. But for today, this is great news.

Here’s what happens next:

  • The scaled-back plan needs to go to the Federal Transit Administration for review, to ensure the state doesn’t lose that $1 billion in federal funds.
  • Even with the scaled-back plan, there is still a funding gap to address. Finance plans are needed.
  • The MBTA needs to build a real team to run this project. They estimate this could take 18 months.
  • If the boards aren’t happy with how these things are going, the Green Line could still get canceled.

If everything does work out, construction would then take 43-47 months. All previous completion dates are obsolete.

Today, the Green Line lives!

Keep reading for the text of the motion, drafted by FMCB chair Joseph Aliello, that was passed by both boards.

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