Somerville/Cambridge – Map
There have been some important new developments this month in the path to constructing the Green Line Extension.
Earlier this month, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation approved a landmark deal between the MBTA and Pan Am Railways that sets the stage for the construction of the Green Line Extension. This agreement brings the track, right of way, and other land that the MBTA will need to complete the Green Line Extension under its control.
The Green Line Extension will provide public transit to chronically under served areas.
Perhaps most importantly, this agreement will enable the MBTA to construct the planned new Lechmere Station. While I have been slightly apprehensive about plans to move Lechmere station to the other side of the O’Brien Highway, this is an important and necessary step in the process of constructing the Green Line Extension. It has been a priority of the MBTA, MassDOT, community groups and state and local officials to ensure that final plans for the station will include robust pedestrian safety protections. I am certain that all parties will be able to work together effectively to agree upon a plan that is not only very safe, but something that East Cambridge can be proud of.
MassDOT and the MBTA are to be commended for also extracting a significant cost savings for the overall project through the deal with Pan Am. While the state had originally planned to pay around $18 million for the railroad track and property rights, it ended up making the deal with Pan Am for $5.5 million less. While not a part of the land agreement, Pan Am has also agreed to take on the cost of improving the streets and sidewalks around the Lechmere area, saving Massachusetts an estimated $9 million.
I am pleased to see the MBTA and MassDOT making steady progress on the Green Line Extension. The vision of a safe, efficient, and clean means of public transportation running through East Cambridge, Somerville, and Medford is something that many, many people have devoted a great amount of time, energy, and hard work to. The agreement with Pan Am is a strong step forward on the path to making this vision a reality, and I am looking forward to working with transportation officials to make sure our collective efforts stay on track.
I will be continuing to update this blog with information about the Green Line Extension and other transportation-related news, so stay tuned!