BOSTON — The much-awaited groundbreaking for the Green Line extension took place on Tuesday, as the state plans to begin work renovating bridges and underpasses that will be a part of a project bringing the trolley through Somerville to Medford.
“Today, we’re here to reaffirm our commitment to seeing this project get underway,” Gov. Deval Patrick said in a statement. “For the residents of Somerville and Medford, the Green Line extension means expanded employment opportunity, housing opportunity and recreational opportunity. This project is about more than transportation. It’s about growth.”
The first phase of the extension will cost $12.9 million, a fraction of the eventual $1.3 billion estimated price tag to extend trolley rails alongside existing commuter rail tracks and build seven new stations out to College Avenue near Tufts University. The state is hoping for financial help in the form of federal New Starts funding.
The first phase will include the reconstruction of the Harvard Street Bridge in Medford and the Medford Street Bridge in Somerville, as well as the demolition of a building at 21 Water Street in Cambridge to make way for a new Lechmere Station.
U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano has voiced skepticism about the project, but cheered the state investment saying, “We all know that resources are limited and I appreciate the commonwealth’s efforts to move this project along.”
Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone used the occasion to praise the work of the Patrick administration in moving the project forward, saying, “Somerville has worked in close partnership with MassDOT and the MBTA to bring the Green Line extension to Somerville by early 2017. With this construction project, we are on schedule to deliver on that shared commitment.”