The Trump Team Likes the Green Line Extension

It’s on the new administration’s short list of projects for federal funding.

MBTA green line / Photo by Olga Khvan

Photo by Olga Khvan

So, some good news. It looks like President Donald Trump and his team like the Green Line extension. Or at least they like it enough to put it on a short list of projects they are interested in prioritizing.

According to the list obtained by the website McClatchy (a similar one was shared with the National Governor’s Association), the long-awaited plan to add MBTA stops in Somerville and Medford is among 50 projects flagged as a priority by the new administration. Gov. Charlie Baker also told the Globe the news in an interview on Monday.

The MBTA expansion is dependent on an infusion of about $1 billion in federal dollars, which the Obama administration pledged in 2014. But the project has stalled amid revelations about runaway costs. Right now the T is recruiting new contractors to complete the project, there is an effort to scale down its design to cut costs, and it still faces a multi-million dollar budget gap. The latest estimate is that the new stops won’t open until 2021. With that $1 billion in the balance, the news that the GLX is being considered a priority by his team is a positive sign that, at the very least, the extension won’t be scrapped under the new president.

The news comes as state officials had planned to meet with the Federal Transit Administration discuss the project today and Thursday.

Democrats hoping to find at least a sliver of common ground with the new president continue to point to infrastructure as a possible area where they can agree and make some progress. Trump hasn’t yet fully formed a plan yet but says he’s interested in rebuilding roads, bridges, airports, dams, and completing other construction projects.

Considering the incoming administration has reasons aplenty to hate our guts, there is still cause for alarm that his team might be in no rush to spend money within Massachusetts’ borders. Trump has explicitly threatened to cut funding for localities with so-called “sanctuary” status limiting local authorities’ role in deporting immigrants here illegally. Somerville is a “sanctuary” city, and it’s a policy Mayor Joe Curtatone has vigorously defended.

Gov. Charlie Baker, a Republican, has tried to strike a balance with the new administration. While he didn’t support Trump as a candidate, he has said he still wants to cooperate with the White House during his presidency—a sentiment he reflected at his State of the Commonwealth address last night.