As word spreads that Governor Deval Patrick plans to seek federal funds for the Green Line project, possibly delaying the extension through Somerville to 2016, the city’s politicians, business groups, and transit organizations are reacting with anger and disappointment.
Last week, Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone met with local legislators and advocacy groups to discuss options. A meeting with state officials to discuss the Green Line’s expansion through Somerville into Medford has been scheduled for Tuesday. Curtatone said he believes it’s wise for state government to pursue federal funds for the project, but not at the expense of the current timeline. He said he would work to ensure that the state keeps its commitment to complete the project by 2014.
“We will take any action — legally, politically — to hold their feet to the fire,” Curtatone vowed.
Cyndi Roy, a spokeswoman for the governor’s office, said, “The administration is committed to moving forward on the Green Line, and we’re doing so with the hope we can meet the 2014 deadline.” She added that ignoring the possibility of bringing in $300 million in federal funds “would be fiscally irresponsible.”
The local transit group Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership has asked residents to call the governor’s office to complain about the proposed delay. The community group, which is fighting for improved transportation in Somerville, is keeping a log of those who have registered their complaints. As of midweek, 80 people had logged complaints.
“There’s a point where Somerville has to say, ‘Enough already,’ ” said the partnership’s president, Ellin Reisner.
Partnership founder Wig Zamore said the group hopes to continue working cooperatively with the state to try to keep the project on time.
He added that “a couple of hiccups” like this are to be expected when a new governor takes office.