Charlie Goes to Somerville

1191855288After months of relentless bad news for Somerville’s T-starved citizens, a sudden interest in accelerating construction of two rail extension projects has residents hoping they can ditch their cars for good. Not only has the federal government given Somerville permission to conduct preliminary engineering work on an Orange Line stop in Assembly Square, but Governor Deval Patrick has promised a Green Line extension to Medford will be built while he is on Beacon Hill.

Are we being Punk’d?

It seems not. Senator Mike Capuano has a promise from the Federal Transit Administration that the Assembly Square project will have exempt status, giving the project a head-start in the molasses-slow approval process.

“This ruling from the FTA clears the decks for work to get under way on this crucial element in the overall Assembly Square development plan,” Mayor Joe Curtatone said. “It’s also a reminder that Assembly Square is the most exciting Smart Growth, transit-oriented development in the region – a model for the way urban development is supposed to work.”

And it will be easier for us to get to our precious Swedish meatballs at IKEA. Let’s not forget that.

But the real miracle is Patrick’s newfound passion for extending Green Line service to Medford in the next three years.

“I am here to affirm my 100% commitment to seeing that it gets built and gets built while I’m in office . . . I know you have been waiting a long time. I want to be absolutely clear that my commitment to this is a personal one.”

He does know he’s only in office until January 2011, right? Is Patrick going to take up a sledgehammer and lay the track himself? You’ll have to excuse us if we remain skeptical until we hear “the destination of this train is: Mystic River” announced on our commute.