Government Will Pay for Nearly Half of the MBTA’s Green Line Extension Project

The T says it's "fantastic news" for transit riders patiently waiting for the new tracks to reach Somerville and Medford.

Photo By Olga Khvan

Photo By Olga Khvan

Green Line riders have had a lot of good news coming down the tracks.

First, the T announced that they activated real-time tracking technology on trolleys so that riders can see exactly when their train will arrive. Then, the first of a fleet of Green Line vehicles getting a complete makeover came back to the city to get primed for service.

Now, the Federal Transit Administration dropped a budget announcement, and promised to front nearly half the cost of the MBTA’s Green Line Extension project, which will carry trains into Somerville and, eventually, Medford, beginning in the next five years.

In a letter to Congress dated December 1, Therese McMillan, acting administrator of the FTA, said they intend to “execute a Full Funding Grant Agreement” in the amount of $996 million for design and construction of the MBTA’s Green Line Extension project. The grant funding will cover 43 percent of the T’s overall $2.2 billion project costs, with the remaining money coming from the state’s operating funds and general obligation bonds.

“The project will improve mobility by reducing transit travel times for residents of Cambridge, Somerville, and Medford by providing a fully grade separated right-of-way for Downtown Boston and the greater metropolitan area,” the letter said. “The project will serve some of the region’s most densely populated communities not currently served by rail transit.”

The letter also said that after the FTA and its financial management contractor reviewed the MBTA’s financial proposal, they determined the T has the “requisite financial capacity” to finish the project, and operate and maintain the system once it’s built.

MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott said the announcement is “terrific news” for Green Line riders moving forward. “With Governor Patrick’s unwavering support and a strong grant application, we convinced the FTA that extending the Green Line is among the most important transit projects in the nation,” she said in a statement. “I believe this process has been a model for demonstrating how local, state, and federal officials can work together to achieve greatness.”

The 4.7-mile project includes the construction of six new stations along the Green Line, which will bring trains past the Lechmere Station in Cambridge, and into Medford and Somerville’s Union Square along two separate routes. The cost of the project also includes the construction of a new maintenance facility for the MBTA, a community bike path running through Somerville, more bike facilities for commuters, and new trolleys.

The state-designated group keeping the community updated on what’s happening with the construction of the new tracks recently unveiled additional renderings that show what each station will look like once the project is complete.

12.1.14 Fta Ffga Letter