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somerville green line extension

Am I an idiot to think this is a done deal?

Jarret Barrio accused the men on stage of trying to renege on a promise made in various years from 1990 to 2002. All I saw up on stage were men trying to jump through the hoops required to get federal funding for their project. By law, each and every one of the men on that stage are required to show no bias towards any possible solution.

They stated plain and clear that they were required to run the numbers and take into account all the factors, but that one of the major factors was community support; and community support for this project is unprecedented. The numbers on the handout they provided were very, very murky, but seemed to be in strong favor for Green Line extension.

I thought when Rep. Capuano revealed that a bill recently passed Congress increasing transportation money to Massachusetts by 23%, and that the bill explicitly approved the Green Line Extension project, that that would be the end of it; people would breathe a sigh of relief, and we'd watch as the power of the people exerted itself in shortcutting the process... that somehow our federal officials had seen the outpouring of support and decided to expend some minimal political capital to get that line-itemed into the budget.

But then Joe Curtatone came out and started talking as if nothing had changed. Granted, he gave a compelling argument of a very different sort, extolling the economic potential of Somerville given sufficient transportation coverage... Mike Capuano was a hard act to follow with his revelation, but somehow Curtatone managed it.

Tim Toomey's representative accused them of trying to back out, and used the opportunity to badmouth the Governor. Carl Sciortino quoted the Governor's published plan for transportation in the state, saying that it said "the air quality commitment stands and will be honored, but not necessarily through the three projects selected 15 years ago."

SIP Commitments ($769m) - The Commonwealth committed to a long list of transit projects in conjunction with approval for the Central Artery Tunnel Project. Most have been completed. Three are currently the subject of a public process being conducted by EOT and DEP. While EOT has asked that those projects (which were chosen without any public input) should be re-evaluated and that more effective substitutes should be considered, the air quality commitment stands and will be honored, but not necessarily through the three projects selected 15 years ago. These three projects consist of the following: Green Line to Medford Hillside ($461m); Blue Line – Red Line Connection ($237m); and Arborway Restoration ($71m).

My point? I'm not sure, but elsewhere in the document it talks about favoring projects that are likely to get federal funding.

Er... I've gone on quite a bit here. Hmm. I should edit this down. But at least Pat Jehlen was a voice of moderation at this meeting, asking them to hurry... She made some great points, and seems to be coming from the same mindset as I am... it's a done deal, but please hurry.

Holy crap. I just read the following sentence:

"The plan also invests $1 billion over the next five years in more than 600 bridge projects, aiming to reduce the number of structurally deficient bridges by 20 percent in that timeframe."

That's a lot of crappy bridges for one state. I wonder if that includes putting back Lowell St.

Comments

( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
eisenbud
Mar. 15th, 2005 05:46 am (UTC)
Yeah, and they approved continuing work on the 2nd Avenue Subway, too. Doesn't mean it's going to happen in our lifetime... But there's a chance, I suppose.

Is there any news on the Green Line going back to Arborway? There've been promises for years. If that actually happens, then it might be time to start holding your breath about Somerville.
eisenbud
Mar. 15th, 2005 05:52 am (UTC)
Oops, I didn't read carefully enough to see the mention of Arborway in your post. Doh!
crs
Mar. 15th, 2005 10:59 am (UTC)
Unfortunately, I think that Arborway is one of the projects voted Most Likely to Get Shafted. The numbers they had in the handout at the meeting showed that switching the Arborway connection to natural gas buses got them something like 90% of their obligation under the Clean Air Act.

And they don't have a high school auditorium of loud citizens pushing for their project, as far as I know.

Hm, I should seriously rethink whether I should consider the Green Line extension a "done deal." Capuano said the congress passed a budget that included "specifiic authorization" but it's unclear from that wording whether the state is obligated to use that money that way. He never once said the word "earmarked."
dzm
Mar. 15th, 2005 01:28 pm (UTC)
Arborway now has potentially huge ADA problems. A line that's been inactive for 20 years is "new construction" and so has to be fully accessible. The proposed solution was to run mixed trains with at least one Breda low-floor car each, but the Type 8's have had huge problems and now the order is on indefinite hold, leaving not enough low-floor cars to service the system. Boston is just sufficiently strange (things like tight clearances and tight curves at places like Boylston) that off-the-shelf low-floor LRVs aren't a good solution. So...
(Deleted comment)
crs
Mar. 15th, 2005 10:55 am (UTC)
I have no idea what the numbers were like, but I will say people spilled over into the balcony of the Somerville High School auditorium.

So, more than at the previous meeting.
( 5 comments — Leave a comment )

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crs
just a guy made of dots and lines
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