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'Schedule Pressure' Forcing Evaluation Of Green Line Extension Project

An MBTA Green Line train enters Lechmere Station in Cambridge. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
An MBTA Green Line train enters Lechmere Station in Cambridge. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

The long-awaited Green Line Extension faces "schedule pressure," MBTA officials said Monday, and they are not "hung up on the original dates."

MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak told the T's board that they should expect a presentation on the $2.3 billion effort to expand Green Line service into Medford and Somerville at their June 21 meeting. That conversation might end in a vote, he said.

"This project has faced schedule pressure throughout," Poftak said during the meeting. "We are in a series of discussions and may have a vote to present to the board at this time, but it is not definite yet."

Neither Poftak nor other officials offered any additional details about the impact of the "schedule pressure." Asked to clarify Poftak's remark, an MBTA spokesman said only that discussions with the construction companies are "ongoing."

The extension is currently scheduled to begin passenger service by the end of 2021. Project officials missed some internal deadlines in 2019, though officials later said it remained on target for its original completion date.

Fiscal and Management Control Board Chair Joseph Aiello suggested during Monday's meeting that the effort may have been hampered by the COVID-19 pandemic, though he, too, did not make it clear if a delay is imminent.

"Let's get that project done well and let's get it done in a reasonable time," Aiello said. "I don't think any member of this board is hung up on the original dates. We know that everybody's been struggling, so there's always a question about acceleration to get back to certain dates or try to meet certain dates."

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