Last Public Comments Heard on Long-Delayed Green Line Extension Project

Posted by Jason Rabin

While the Green Line Expansion Project is facing further delays, passengers wishing to comment have reached their final stop.

The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) held two final public hearings on July’s 2011 Status Report for the Green Line Extension on Tuesday, September 13, at 1PM and 5PM at its headquarters on One Winter Street, in Boston. Members of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) were on hand to meet the public. Written comments from the public were accepted through paper and electronic mail through 5PM.

Released July 27, the report announces yet another push back for the perennially delayed expansion project, which promises seven new Green Line MBTA stations reaching into East Cambridge, Somerville and Medford. This time the goal post has been moved from 2015 to between 2018 and 2020.

The latest delay has drawn particular ire from the City of Somerville, whose Board of Alderman recently passed a resolution calling for MassDOT officials to appear before them and explain the delays. This resolution echoes the sentiments of Mayor Joseph A. Curatone who vowed in Somerville News editorial, “We will not take this lying down.”

The city has used its Twitter account, @SomervilleCity, to urge citizens to attend the hearings and to write letters to officials demanding an end to project delays. A petition baring over 2,500 signatures posted on the city’s homepage, reads

“A four-year delay of the Green Line Extension bereft of any tangible commitments from the Commonwealth is simply unacceptable. Somerville deserves a transparent, accurate timeline for the Green Line Extension, with clear deliverables. Fundamental matters of social justice, economic justice and environmental justice are at stake in this project…”

Michaela Preskill, a consumer advocate who works on transportation issues with the progressive watchdog group, MassPIRG commented on the importance of the hearings as she prepared to give testimony at the later session.

“MassDOT is under legal obligation to finish this project, to show realistic funding sources and time. Despite this obligation MassDot and the Commonwealth have fallen short. They should not be allowed to delay this project further. We should be making significant investments in expanding public transportation, particularly at a time when gas prices are at an all time high and only expected to rise.”

Preskill is hopeful that the hearings will have an impact but notes, “At this time the project has been in the works for many years and has been delayed many times. Our goal is to break ground on this project as soon as possible.”

MassDOT was represented at the hearings by executive director of transportation and planning, David Moheler, and by manager of long-range planning, Kate Fichter.

Fichter told New England Post, “MassDOT and the T are acutely aware and appreciative of the passion felt by members of the public about the timetable for the Green Line Extension Project.  However, the project schedule is driven by the realities of design, property acquisition, and construction.  While we are doing our best to expedite it, we need to be realistic about the time required for full implementation.”

Fichter says that MassDOT will include the feedback received at the hearings in a report submitted in January to the DEP, who will evaluate their responses.





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Posted by Jason Rabin on Sep 14 2011. Filed under Featured - For home page featured article, Politics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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