Before the MBTA rings in the New Year on December 31, they have a big deadline to meet: completing the extension of the Green Line to Somerville and Medford. That this deadline is going to pass those communities by without new transit service is not news to anyone. So it was wonderful to learn this week that the state has all but secured close to a billion dollars in federal funding to move this important transit project forward.
Those monies are coming from the Federal Transit Authority, which sent a letter to Congress on December 1 expressing its intention to execute a full funding grant agreement (FFGA) with the MBTA for the design and construction of the 4.7-mile, seven-station extension. The remaining costs for the estimated $2.3 billion project will come from bonds and state operating funds. The FFGA is subject to a 30-day Congressional review, which, coincidentally, is scheduled to end on December 31, the original deadline for the project’s completion.
CLF has pushed for improved transit service for decades, and, in 2006, reached a settlement agreement with the Commonwealth for its failure to meet its commitments to offset increased traffic and pollution from the Big Dig – a settlement that required the MBTA Green Line extension be completed by December 31 of this year. This infusion of federal funds is welcome news for CLF, our partners, and the community members who have waited too long for the state to fulfill its promise – giving us all two reasons to celebrate on New Year’s Eve.