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With $393M Contract, State Invests Heavily In Green Line Extension

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BOSTON — The state made its largest financial commitment to date towards the Green Line extension project Wednesday, signing off on a $393 million contract to fund phase two of the project: the construction of three new stations.

The contract covers the construction of a new Lechmere Station in Cambridge and the extension of the line to Somerville’s Union Square neighborhood and to Washington Street near the McGrath Highway.

As part of a settlement the state made with the Conservation Law Foundation in 2006, the extension is required to be built by Dec. 31, 2014, though state officials and advocates have long known the deadline would be missed. Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone says the funding finally gives the city certainty that while behind schedule, the extension is coming.

“We’ve gone through a lot of trials and tribulations over many, many years, for decades, over whether the Green Line would actually happen, and it’s happening,” Curtatone said.

Construction on the three new stations should begin next spring and the MBTA expects it to be completed in 2017.

Beyond these stations, the state plans to extend the line through Somerville along Broadway to the Tufts University campus in Medford, adding another four stops.

Curtatone says the funding of these first few stations will help improve Somerville’s economy.

“We intend to create 30,000 new jobs, 6,000 new additional units of housing,” he said. “And have a major shift of our mode trips from just the automobile to include bicycle and walking and rail transit.”

The first phase of the extension project, which included the renovation of bridges and underpasses to accommodate trolleys, began last year. The MBTA says it will have to come back to the state to secure funding for the final two phases.

With reporting by the State House News Service and the WBUR Newsroom.

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  • alexMass

    A step in the right direction. Efficient transportation is key to a vital city. On that note, let’s take a look at the existing Green Line (especially B) and see what we can do to make it faster. Why does it hit so many red lights, for example? A train carrying a hundred+ people should get higher priority over car traffic–software can help here–no major road construction needed.

    • millerm277

      The T refuses to build in signal priority, even when they are heavily pushed to do so. Brookline would love the C sped up as well, for example and I believe has requested it in the past.

      To my knowledge there has been no particular reason given, even though it objectively can’t be that difficult, intelligent traffic light systems are pretty proven technology and other places have such systems for their streetcars.

      It’d also likely help with much of the problems on the Green Line, given that it would mean the same # of trains would now be able to make more runs.

      • neroden

        Signal priority requires cooperation between the T and the city.

        This has prevented signal priority in Toronto, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and many other places. Perhaps the T just doesn’t want to fight with the city traffic light department.

  • Vicki Moran

    Wait a minute: the T has stranded commuters here by cutting off all weekend commuter rail service through Roslindale, WEst Roxbury, and Needham, but they are building an extension of the green line deeper into Somerville? Wow, who lobbied for that one?

    • neroden

      The extension of the Green Line into Somerville has been legally mandated since the Big Dig, as compensation for all the extra car pollution which the Big Dig brought north of the river.

      In fact, it was originally supposed to open by, if I remember correctly, 2000. The Romney administration violated the law by not even trying to build the Green Line extension; they got sued and were given a court-ordered deadline of 2014 to open the Green Line extension.

      As you will notice, the Massachusetts state government has not complied with the court-ordered deadline. But, better late than never…

  • neroden

    Finally! This project has been demanded since the 1980s. It has actually been *legally required* since the Big Dig, to make up for all the extra car pollution which the Big Dig brought north of the river. Finally!

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