Green Line extension getting close
T officials say feds are comfortable with redesign
THE $2.3 BILLION GREEN LINE EXTENSION project is not quite a go yet, but it’s getting close, MBTA officials reported to the agency’s oversight board on Thursday.
Andrew Brennan, director of energy and environment at the T, said federal officials who are being asked to provide $1 billion for the project are now comfortable with the redesign. He also said the T is in the process of recruiting the top officials to manage the project, and has a written agreement with Cambridge that calls for the city to cover $25 million of the cost. A $50 million funding arrangement with Somerville is likely to be completed in November, he said.
The Green Line extension from Lechmere into Somerville and Medford was originally slated to cost $2 billion, with the state and federal government splitting the tab. When the estimated cost of the extension ballooned to $3 billion, the T called a halt to work and redesigned the project to reduce its cost. Moving ahead now hinges on the Federal Transit Administration releasing its $1 billion, which is contingent on the agency determining the overall scope of the project hasn’t changed and the new budget is realistic.
Brennan said Federal Transit Administration officials are now comfortable with the redesign, but they have yet to run a risk analysis of the project and determine how much money the T needs to set aside in case costs escalate.
Brennan said the T has also made progress nailing down first-of-their-kind funding agreements with Cambridge and Somerville. The Fiscal Management and Control Board approved the agreement with Cambridge on Thursday. It calls for Cambridge to provide $5 million a year for five years starting in 2018. Under the deal, Cambridge will get all its money back if Lechmere Station is not relocated within 10 years. Cambridge will also get a prorated refund of its money if the cost of the project comes in at less than $2.3 billion. If Cambridge misses a payment, the agreement allows the T to take the money out of the community’s non-school state aid.