Here's how the T plans to fix the Green Line Extension

A train rides on the tracks in Somerville during testing runs of the Green Line Extension. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)
A train rides on the tracks in Somerville during testing runs of the Green Line Extension. (Jesse Costa/WBUR)

Editor's Note: This is an excerpt from WBUR's daily morning newsletter, WBUR Today. If you like what you read and want it in your inbox, sign up here

It’s Friday! While you see how long it takes to count to $25 billion, here what to know today:

Mark your calendar: The MBTA has announced its plan to fix the Green Line Extension, adding to a bevy of post-Thanksgiving closures on the line. From Nov. 27 to Dec. 10, trains will stop running on both branches of the GLX each night at 8:45 p.m. so crews can fix the defectively built tracks. While free shuttle buses will provide night service on the GLX’s longer Medford branch, the T says riders who use Union Square station in Somerville will have to rely on local MBTA buses instead. (The T’s website has the specifics here.)

  • The nighttime GLX diversion also overlaps with the sweeping 24-hour shutdown of the Green Line’s downtown trunk, E branch and part of the B branch, which runs from Nov. 27 to Dec. 3. (Yes, it’s going to be a little messy.) But there is some good news: As part of yesterday’s announcement, the T also unveiled the commuter rail will be free to ride between South Station, Back Bay and Lansdowne stations during the downtown shutdown. The Route 39 bus, which runs along the E branch, will also be free. And there’ll be shuttle buses between Copley and Babcock Street.
  • The big picture: As the T previewed last week, there’s a lot more work — and shutdowns — ahead to make up for decades of disinvestment. The projected cost of all the repairs has also exploded to $25 billion as of yesterday. The situation has led the state’s new transportation secretary to suggest this week it’s time for a “hard, hard discussion” about how the T is funded.
  • One more thing: Remember, there will be no Red Line trains this weekend between Park Street and JFK/UMass due to track work. Your alternative options: Shuttles buses or the commuter rail.

Bad trip: The push to put the legalization of psychedelics on the Massachusetts ballot next year may be in jeopardy due to a mistake by signature gatherers. The campaign leaders had said they collected the 74,574 signatures they’re required to submit to move forward. However, WBUR’s Walter Wuthmann reports some activists found that a labor union logo was printed on some signature sheets — a “disqualifying mark” that would invalidate the entire sheet.

  • What’s next: It’s unclear exactly how many signatures have been invalidated, but a spokesperson for the PAC behind the ballot question told Walt they have returned to the field to do more signature-gathering. They also said they remain “confident” they’ll meet next Wednesday’s deadline.
  • Go deeper: The mistake has also put a spotlight on a rift within the pro-psychedelics community. Read Walt’s full story for the details.

National Grid is asking Massachusetts officials for permission to give low-income customers a bigger discount on their electric bill. Currently, local National Grid customers who make up to 60% of the state’s median income (in other words, $45,392 for an individual or $87,294 for a family of four) can get roughly a third off their total monthly electric bill. However, the company is asking to create a tiered discount rate that gives the lowest-income customers an even bigger discount — up to 55% off of their bills.

  • Why? Even with the current discounts, National Grid officials told WBUR’s Miriam Wasser that upwards of one-fifth of their lowest-income customers still qualify as “energy burdened,” meaning they spend over 6% of their income on energy bills.

Movie night! Two recently closed Boston movie theaters are being resurrected from the dead this week, with new names and ownership:

In other theater news: Harvard’s American Repertory Theater is officially moving to Allston. Last night, the Boston Planning and Development Agency approved the plan to move the theater as part of the university’s Enterprise Research Campus in the neighborhood.

P.S.— What did a Massachusetts man use to journey through the Connecticut River? Take our Boston News Quiz and see how closely you’ve been following our coverage this week.


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Nik DeCosta-Klipa Newsletter Editor
Nik DeCosta-Klipa is the newsletter editor for WBUR.



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