Dozens of people gathered outside the Somerville High School on Thursday night to declare that our communities are “shovel ready” for the long-awaited Green Line Extension. Groups from Cambridge, Somerville, Arlington, and Medford gathered to demand progress on the project, which the Massachusetts Department of Transportation recently announced would be delayed by up to five years.
|Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone speaks about
Somerville’s need for the Green Line Extension.
Speakers from a wide cross-section of local community groups gave voice to the range of needs that the Green Line Extension will fulfill. A new public transit system in Somerville and Medford will mean greatly improved access to transit for the elderly and disabled, provide a greater number of job opportunities for those who rely on public transit to get around, and introduce a flood of new customers from around the region to local businesses.
Twenty years after its conception as mitigation for the Big Dig, I think we can all agree that the Green Line Extension is long overdue. Getting real shovels in the ground as quickly as possible is more critical now than it ever has been before, and is a way for the state to renew its commitment to the project at a time of great public anxiety and mistrust over its future.
While I was incredibly disappointed by this summer’s announcement of further Green Line Extension delays, I am pleased that talks are moving forward on a phased construction plan that would begin rail bridge work necessary for the project as soon as next year. This was a major ask of the Green Line legislative delegation when we met with the Governor at the end of the summer. I firmly believe that once the state begins to invest in the infrastructure for the Green Line Extension, it will be difficult for officials to justify further scheduled delays in the completion of the entire project. Even after ground has been officially broken, the state has shown us that continued community involvement in conjunction with the active engagement of elected officials will be necessary until the last piece of rail is laid. We have been shown that we cannot always count on the deliverance environmental justice to communities that deserve it, and instead those communities must continue to fight for it until it is delivered.
Please check back here often for the latest news about the Green Line Extension and what is being done to ensure that it is completed.