The TIP is the annual report of transportation improvement projects that are on the state’s radar. In trying to explain the recently announced Green Line Extension delay, the TIP makes a few points:
- “MassDOT/MBTA is beginning the process of formally petitioning DEP on the delay and MassDOT/MBTA will be developing a list of potential interim reduction offset measures, to be informed by public input.” A longer delay would mean that these offset projects will necessarily become very large and expensive.
- The state says it continues “transitioning the project from the planning and environmental review phases to design, engineering, and eventual construction, coupled with the tasks associated with applying for New Starts funding.” It is good news that work has not stopped.
- The project is “enormously complex” and a recent “cost/schedule/risk analysis” has led to “a much deeper and more nuanced understanding of the constraints and limitations that must be managed in order to implement the Green Line Extension project.” It is still not clear how this adds up to a possible delay all the way to 2018-20. Many of these challenges have been known for years.
- This new timeline assumes “assumes the issuance of a notice to proceed to a Design/Build contractor only after the MBTA has taken full ownership of all private property of any substantial size required for the construction of the Green Line Extension.” Supposedly this dependency is based on lessons from the Greenbush Commuter Rail project, but there is skepticism that this is a real issue.
- The most important reason for the delay isn’t even discussed: lack of funding!
- “MassDOT and the MBTA are not satisfied with the schedule ranges shown here, and are actively considering strategies that could mitigate schedule risks and improve upon the probable delivery dates for passenger service on the Green Line Extension.” Examples include a phasing scenario, ignoring the previous bullet, using a process other than Design/Build.
- A GLX Steering Group will be created to, among other things, talk about the options moving forward. It’s not clear exactly what this Steering Group will be doing or who will be on it.