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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

FTA Approves Green Line Extension Budget Plans


The projected track for the extended Green Line of Boston’s T system.

On April 4, the Green Line Extension (GLX) Project was approved. The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) announced that it had accepted the new cost estimate of $2.289 billion to realize this plan, which has been in the workings for quite some time. Initially, the firstly proposed budget of $3 billion was rejected and put the enterprise on hold in 2015 until the leadership would be able to reduce the estimated expenses of the project.

Now, with the new budget that was presented by the project’s managers, the FTA has given the green light to the execution of the long-awaited extension of one of the busiest subway lines in Boston.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Capital Programs Committee, the FTA has pledged around $996 million to the funding of the project. Furthermore, another $996 million will be provided from MassDOT.

Additionally, the cities of Cambridge and Somerville, through which the extended line will run, have also pledged to financially contribute to the GLX Project. While Cambridge will provide $25 million of additional funds, Somerville will contribute $50 million. The Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) will offer $157 million of “Flexed Highway Funding.” Lastly, an additional MassDOT/Commonwealth contribution will provide $64 million to the GLX.

According to the schedule, the trains on this new line should be operating by the end of 2021. Furthermore, it is estimated that by 2030 the daily number of passengers accessing the T through those new stations will reach around 45,000 riders.

In total, the GLX will result in seven new stations and two branches in the towns of Somerville and Medford. The currently existing Lechmere Station will be relocated into East Cambridge. The longer “mainline” branch will run from the new Lechmere T stop all the way north to Medford across five station at Washington Street, Gilman Square, Lowell Street, Ball Square, and College Avenue. The shorter second branch will run between the new Lechmere and Union Square stations.

According to the official GLX Project website, this new light rail service in these areas “will greatly improve local and regional mobility, address longstanding transportation inequities, result in fewer automobiles on local roads, and help to combat greenhouse gas emissions and other components of air pollution.”

The realization of the GLX Project will also support municipalities in their plans for “sustainable growth and urban redevelopment and provide residents of environmental justice communities with faster rides to jobs and other destinations.”

The day after the approval by the FTA, John Dalton, who is the General Manager of the GLX project, appeared on the Somerville Community Access Television and expressed his relief about this decision.

“We are one step closer to the funds being released for the GLX program,” said Dalton. He also said that the next moves for the realization for the project include the settling the design plans and the the start of the actual construction.

“This is a great opportunity to be a part of,” he continued. 

On the same day, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker spoke publicly about the project in an interview on the Boston Herald Radio. According to Baker, he talked to Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao in February and pitched the GLX plans to her.

“I’m very excited about that opportunity. It’s a terrific infrastructure project and the fact the feds will be a big co-sponsor indicates that they believe it’s a great project, too,” said Baker.