More coverage of the Green Line battle

  • Post category:Green Line

Somerville Journal: “Aldermen ready to fight for Green Line extension”
Somerville Journal: “Somerville-Medford delegation braced for fight on Green Line”
Somerville News: “Governor may backtrack on Green Line commitment”
Continue reading for excerpts from the articles.

From the Somerville Journal…
The Board of Aldermen unanimously condemned a proposed delay to the Green Line extension at Thursday night’s meeting.
“It’s unbelievable that they would suddenly shift and say, ‘No, you have to wait,’” said BOA president and Ward 7 Alderman Bob Trane.
“People need to get on the T, get in their cars, walk, or ride their bikes and storm the State House,” Ward 2 Alderman Maryann Heuston said. “Then they’ll see the power of the populous demanding something that is theirs by right.”
Mayor Joe Curtatone told the BOA that the city would take any measures necessary to ensure the Green Line comes, but agreed with the state’s plan to seek other funding.
“This is the only project that qualifies for federal money,” he said. “It’s financially prudent to seek the money.”
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Upset that Gov. Deval Patrick’s move toward postponing a long-delayed extension of the Green Line through Somerville and Medford, local politicians are preparing to ratchet up their opposition, while the area’s congressman is backing the administration’s bid for more federal dollars in exchange for the setback.
“As long as it’s not going to lose its ‘place in line,’ or whatever the term might be, it’s fine by me,” said U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, a Somerville Democrat.
The area’s Beacon Hill delegation, meanwhile, released a strongly worded statement Wednesday, in which Sen. Patricia Jehlen (D-Somerville) said, “We expect the state to construct the project by 2014 with or without federal funds.”
Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone called last year’s settlement a “legally binding agreement.” He said, “We need clarity and predictability. I mean, how many times are you going to move the end date?”
Curtatone said, “I have developers calling me, saying, ‘Is this really going to happen or is this another situation where you’re driving for a touchdown and they move the end-zone again’?”
The cities’ Beacon Hill delegation and mayors plan to meet with Transportation Secretary Bernard Cohen next week, and legislators are preparing to weigh in at a Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization meeting Thursday, where the state’s long-range transportation plan is up for discussion.
Both Curtatone and Capuano said they hoped to see details from administration officials indicating progress such as bridgework they hope to make in the interim, and Curtatone said he was concerned the federal aid wasn’t guaranteed.
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From the Somerville News…
State Rep. Denise Provost, D-Somerville, said she was “appalled,” and Board of Aldermen President Robert C. Trane said he was “extremely disappointed” by Patrick’s plan to delay the completion date of the project from 2014 to 2016 to seek federal funding to pay for half of the $608 million project.
Carrie Russell, staff attorney for CLF, said if Patrick’s proposal to delay the project becomes a reality, the organization will resume its lawsuit. If CLF are forced into a courtroom battle, it will have plenty of support from city leaders. Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone said the city would support CLF in a lawsuit against the state.
“We fully intend to push back hard and hold the state’s feet to the fire on their legal commitment,” he said.
Curtatone said he supports the idea of seeking federal money for the project but maintains it does not have to be delayed as a result.
“We’re incredibly disappointed, it feels like Somerville is being jerked around again,” said Ellin Reisner, president of Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership (STEP), an equity transit group that has worked on the Green Line project since 2003. “There is no guarantee we can even get federal funding. 2016 would be the earliest it could it could happen. We expect it would be even later than that.”
“Somerville came out big for the governor,” Trane said. “Now to see him push back the Green Line once again is extremely disappointing.”
Reisner said Patrick has underestimated how significant the project is in Somerville and the astounding level of community support for it.
“He believes Somerville is in his pocket, but we voted for him thinking he would follow through on the legal commitment to complete this project by 2014,” said Reisner.