News item in the Somerville Community Corridor Planning Project e-newsletter of Sept. 30:
Green Line at the State and Regional Level
We wanted to give you a little bit of an update on the planning for the Green Line through Somerville. This is a quick snippet. If you need more information, please contact Ellin Reisner. The Green Line Extension is listed in both the Amended Regional Transportation Plan – at over $1 billion – and in the 2010-2013 Transportation Improvement Program. There will be about $671 million of project expenditures between October 1, 2009 and September 30, 2013.
We have been advised that the Draft Environmental Impact Review will be released for comment in a few weeks and that it will not specify Yard 8 as the location for the maintenance facility. We have been told that there will be three possible options for the maintenance facility site.
(CCP is a collaboration between Groundwork Somerville, the Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership, Somerville Community Health Agenda, and the Somerville Community Corporation.)
According to State Representative Denise Provost of Somerville, the state Executive Office of Transportation is still 3 months away from filing the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) on the Green Line Extension.
In her Sept. 18 newsletter, Rep. Provost writes that an EOT official made this statement at the Sept. 9 public meeting to hear comments on the remaining State Implementation Plan (SIP) projects that the commonwealth agreed to build as part of the conditions for building the Big Dig. Rep. Provost notes that a three-month delay would mean the DEIR would be a full year late; EOT was required to file the document on December 1, 2008.
Here is the complete item from Rep. Provost’s newsletter:
A. What’s Up With the Green Line?
1. Higher Costs, More Delay Proposed
On July 3, 2009 the Executive Office of Transportation (EOT) submitted a draft amendment to the state’s long-term Regional Transportation Plan (RTP, or “plan”) and a draft Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) for the federal fiscal years 2010-2013 to the Boston Municipal Planning Organization (MPO). These documents reflect changes in the state’s thinking about the funding and implementation of Somerville projects, most significantly, the Green Line. To view the draft documents, go to the MPO website, www.bostonmpo.org.
2. Opportunity to Comment
The MPO is seeking public comment on the proposed changes until their deadline of 5pm on Tuesday, September 22, 2009
3. What Changes Does EOT Propose?
If you look at the proposed RTP Amendment, you’ll see that the Green Line Extension has now been broken into two phases; Phase being the stretch from Lechmere Station to College Avenue at a cost of $934 million. Phase 2, College Avenue to Rt. 16, is estimated to cost $130 million, for a total of $1 billion, 64 million ($1,064,000,000). This amount represents a big jump from the $600 million that EOT, in 2008, said would fully find the project.
The administration asked the legislature in 2008 to authorize the issuance of $600 million in bonded debt to pay for the Green Line Extension project – and we did. Since that amount is no longer pay for the re-estimated project cost, the financing plan for the Green Line Extension now depends upon 50% of the project being paid for by the federal government, under its “new starts” grant program. EOT has not yet completed the grant application process, and the Federal Transit
Administration (FTA) is not able to endorse “EOT’s current cost estimates, which FTA fears will continue to creep upward.
EOT has not proposed to amend its project completion deadline, which remains December 31, 2014. EOT is, however, pushing back an important internal project deadline, the filing of its Environmental Impact Report/ Environmental Assessment (EIR/EA). In its July, 2009 RTA amendment, EOT said it would make this filing in August, 2009 – but it did not. At a September 9, 2009 hearing at the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), and EOT official verbally represented that there would be a three-month delay in this filing – putting it a full year behind its originally scheduled date. DEP has responsibility to monitor the progress that EOT is making in implementing requirement of the federal Clean Air Act. Construction of
the Green Line Extension is one of the Transportation Control Measures (TCMs) which Massachusetts is obliged to construct as part of its State Implementation Plan (SIP) for the Clean Air Act.
Jeffrey Mullan, now director of the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, was named chief executive officer and secretary of the new state department of transportation today, the governor’s office announced.
Mullan had previously served as undersecretary of transportation and general counsel to the state transportation department. He lives in Milton.
He replaces James A. Aloisi Jr., who announced Friday that he would be stepping down Oct. 31, after less than a year on the job that was often marked by controversy.
“Jeff brings a critical commitment to reform and high-level of expertise to the table,” Governor Deval Patrick said in a statement. “He possesses the vision and know-how we need to effectively lead a unified transportation organization that eliminates waste, saves taxpayer dollars and improves the delivery of transportation services across our Commonwealth.”