Your comments needed by Sept 13 to save the Green Line Extension!
Please help get the Green Line back on track toward timely completion!
This post contains important information on the most impactful things you can do to fight back against the proposed Green Line delay. We have been successful in turning things around in the past and with your help we will be successful again.
Part 1. Key information on current status DELAYS and what you can do about them.
Part 2. Where to send written comments. Dates and times of important meetings.
Part 3. Speaking points for your written comments or for speaking at meetings
Part 1. Green Line Extension supporters are furious about the LATEST announced delays.
TO REVERSE THE GREEN LINE DELAYS SEND WRITTEN COMMENTS via email or letter by 5 PM, SEPTEMBER 13 to:
- The Mass Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) to reject MassDOT’s request to delay the Green Line opening to 2018-2020.
- The Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) to reject the same delays that are contained within the 2012-2015 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP).
Use the contact information and key points below to write your comments. We believe it will be most effective to write a single comment to multiple recipients and reference the “SIP transit commitments,” the “Boston MPO 2012-2015 TIP” and the “Boston MPO LRTP.”
MassDOT’s performance has been awful, but YOUR COMMENTS can make a difference.
Your actions and letters have saved the Green Line before. We need to do it again NOW!
IMPORTANT POINTS about the Green Line Extension:
The original legal agreement in 1990 to extend the Green Line was revised in 2000 for planned completion in 2011. Then it was delayed to 2014 in revisions to the State Implementation Plan (SIP), legal obligations under the Clean Air Act. Then last year MassDOT said the Green Line Extension (GLX) would not open until 2015. Now, they have announced even more delays, to 2018 to 2020!
SUSTAINABILITY. It is important to remember that the Green Line Extension is a great, sustainable transportation project. It’s light rail that will provides clean transit to the city most health-burdened by highway and diesel commuter rail pollution. 85% of Somerville residents will have access to rail and many of our neighbors in East Cambridge, Medford and Arlington will have access to new light rail. It will also integrate with the Community Path, providing convenient access to Green Line stations and completing a bike and pedestrian route from Bedford to downtown Boston. The Green Line Extension fully embodies the principles espoused by GreenDOT*.
It is no wonder the Green Line is overwhelmingly supported in Somerville and surrounding communities.
THE GREEN LINE IS A LEGAL OBLIGATION UNDER THE CLEAN AIR ACT. It has been the state’s single largest Transportation Control Measure (TCM) obligation under the State Implementation Plan (SIP) for twenty years. Thus, it is a binding legal obligation under the Clean Air Act. Federal Transportation Conformity Regulations require that SIP TCMs like the Green Line Extension must be given funding and completion priority by the region and state.
Meeting this legal obligation requires the Boston MPO to show realistic funding sources and timely completion of the Green Line Extension in both the 2012-2015 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) and the Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). Currently the TIP shows less than 50% of the money and less than 50% of the Green Line Extension being completed by the legal deadline of 2014.
The Draft 2012-2015 TIP and the Draft LRTP “Paths to a Sustainable Region” fail to meet both the “fiscal constraint” requirement for full funding and the “environmental” requirement for timely completion of the SIP TCMs. And, beyond the binding legal obligations, MassDOT and the Commonwealth have failed over and over again to meet promised deadlines given to the Green Line Extension communities. Citizens deserve greater respect.
FUNDING, TIMING and TRANSPARENCY. The Green Line Extension communities have repeatedly welcomed project staff from MassDOT, the MBTA and their consultants. Cooperation, rapport and enthusiasm have generally been high on both sides whenever people have rolled up their sleeves to tackle project details. However, MassDOT has too often been coy and tactical, squirming at major steps with regard to securing real funding for the project and making reasonable time commitments.
PART 2. Primary email “SIP and TIP” comment recipients are as follows:
Mr. Jerome Grafe, Mass Department of Environmental Protection, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Christine Kirby, Mass Department of Environmental Protection, email@example.com
Mr. David Mohler, Chair, Boston MPO Planning & Programming Committee, David.firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Katherine Fichter, MassDOT Office of Transportation Planning, Katherine.email@example.com
Via email to Boston MPO Staff at firstname.lastname@example.org
Important Federal agency transportation plan reviewers to copy your comments to:
Ms. Anne Arnold, Manager, EPA Region 1 Air Quality Planning Unit, email@example.com
Mr. Donald Cooke, Conformity and mobile monitoring, EPA Region 1 Air Quality, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ms. Rosemary Monahan, EPA Region 1 Smart Growth Coordinator, email@example.com
Ms. Pamela Stephenson, MA Division Administrator, Federal Highway, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Michael Chong, Federal Highway Planning and Environ. Program Manager, email@example.com
Ms. Mary Beth Mello, Regional Director, Federal Transit Region 1, firstname.lastname@example.org
David Mohler, Chair, Transportation Planning and Programming Committee
Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT)
10 Park Plaza, Suite 2150
Boston, MA 02116
Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT)
Office of Transportation Planning. Room 4150
10 Park Plaza
Boston, MA 02116
Mass Department of Environmental Protection (DEP)
Bureau of Waste Prevention
One Winter Street
Boston, MA 02108
Richard K. Sullivan, Secretary
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900
Boston, MA 02114
Also if you have time:
Governor Deval Patrick and Lt. Governor Murray
Office of the Governor
Office of the Lt. Governor
Boston, MA 02133
Mary Beth Mello Regional Administrator, Region 1
Federal Transit Administration Region 1
55 Broadway, Suite 920
Cambridge, MA 02142-1093
Pamela Stephenson, Division Administrator
Michael Chong, Planning and Environmental Program Manager
Federal Highway Administration Massachusetts Division
55 Broadway 10th Fl.
Cambridge, Massachusetts 02142
Curt Spaulding, Admistrator, Region 1
Rosemary Monahan, Smart Growth Coordinator
Environmental Protection Administration Region 1
5 Post Office Square – Suite 100
Boston, MA 02109-3912
If you can, please also consider ATTENDING these TWO IMPORTANT MEETINGS:
Tuesday, Sept 13, 1 pm or 5 pm
Mass Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Hearing on SIP
One Winter St, Boston – Conference Center, 2nd floor
Thursday, Sept 22, 10 am
Boston Region MPO Meeting – MPO vote on TIP and LRTP
10 Park Plaza, Boston, 2nd floor
Short or long, written or spoken, every personal comment will help our community.
We have been very patient, we love the Green Line, but we want more than just hearing what a great project the Green Line is — enough is enough!
ADDITIONAL POINTS YOU CAN USE TO MAKE YOUR COMMENTS
STATE IMPLEMENTATION PLAN:
- MA DOT states that securing federal “New Starts” funding for the Green Line is risky because of the MBTA financial condition, but MA DOT has not demonstrated it has a funding plan and design and construction schedule to meet the SIP requirements using only state funding – which has been agreed to by the Commonwealth in the SIP agreement.
- Monthly SIP reports as late as May 2011 committed to completing the Green Line Extension at the end of 2015, with no suggestion of further possible delays. This reflects a lack of transparency and seriousness in meeting the SIP requirements.
- MassDOT’s assertion that land acquisition is a primary factor in the latest delay is not acceptable. Commuter rail track could be moved and track could be laid while waiting to acquire land for the Ball Square and Union Square Stations. Using Greenbush Line land acquisition delays as a lesson learned for the GLX is not a valid comparison because the land required was for right of way. This is not the case for the GLX. GLX land acquisition is for station locations and the maintenance facility (not included in the SIP agreement)
- The suggested phasing scenario proposed for constructing the GLX should only be permitted if the State is legally bound to complete of the full GLX to Route 16 by 2018.
IMPACT OF DELAY ON HEALTH
The Green Line Extension is supposed to mitigate the health effects of vehicle pollution from 1-93 and regional highway traffic as well as regional ozone. Delaying completion of the project without mitigation of the pollution will continue to negatively affect the health of Somerville and regional residents. Somerville has the greatest daily exposure to commuter traffic and diesel rail pollution in the state from 250,000 vehicles on I-93, Mystic Avenue (38) and McGrath Highway (28). We also breathe fumes from 200 daily diesel commuter and freight trains that cut through the city but (fortunately) do not stop.
People who live in the most transportation-polluted 10% of a large urban region may have:
20% higher overall mortality rates
50% higher lung cancer mortalities
50% higher childhood asthma rates
50% higher heart attack mortalities
IMPACT OF DELAY ON REGIONAL/STATEWIDE ECONOMICS:
- Could jeopardize the State’s federal transportation funding, a loss of $650 million per year.
- Would significantly increase the cost of the GLX project and needlessly cost taxpayers statewide $200 million or more, plus the costs of required air quality mitigation to offset the delay.
- Will deny a key regional transit link for employers, universities, research centers and residents.
- Will result in significant loss of sales and income tax revenues to the Commonwealth because it misses the opportunity to create construction and other jobs when we really need them.
- Will cause us to miss the benefits seen by other regions in the country such as Salt Lake City, Utah and Dallas, Texas that have recently built light rail on time and sometimes under budget.
IMPACT OF DELAY ON THE COMMUNITY PATH
- Delaying GLX also delays the Community Path. The 2.3 mile Community Path extension will connect the regional Minuteman Path network to Boston and to the Charles River network.
- Governor Patrick committed to build the Green Line Extension during his term in office.
- Governor Patrick and the Lieutenant Governor must honor this commitment.
- The Green Line Extension was legally mandated in 1990. Thirty years is an unacceptable delay.
- The Green Line Extension has never been given top priority, even though it is a legally obligated Transportation Control Measure specified in the State Implementation Plan (SIP).
- The state must pursue full bond funding of GLX to satisfy Federal Transportation Conformity.
Why is GLX not being moved as aggressively as the Fast14 Bridge replacement project? With all the supposed brain power of our region, why can’t we get a 7 station transit extension built in a timely, cost-effective way? We have just recently built a massive new highway bridge on the Cape and we are widening our highways with a multi-year Route 128 mega-project, but we just can’t seem to get a shovel in the ground on time for a sustainable urban light rail project.
“GreenDOT, a comprehensive environmental responsibility and sustainability initiative that will make MassDOT a national leader in ‘greening’ the state transportation system. GreenDOT will be driven by three primary goals: reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions; promote the healthy transportation options of walking, bicycling, and public transit; and support for smart growth development.”