Is the Green Line Ext. back on track — or not?
The Boston Globe’s headline was “State OK’s a cut-down Green Line extension.” The Boston Herald went with “Green light for $2.3 billion MBTA extension plan.” CommonWealth’s take was: “Boards give yellow light to Green Line Ext.”
An OK, a green light, and a yellow light. Which is it?
Each story was accurate, but the headlines reflect different perspectives on the joint meeting on Monday between the boards of the Department of Transportation and the MBTA’s Fiscal Management and Control Board. After more than 50 supporters spoke in favor of the project and a team of consultants laid out how they had pared the price tag of the Green Line Extension to $2.3 billion, members of the two boards clearly wanted to move forward.
But there was also a caution contingent on the board, led by none other than Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack. Pollack repeatedly pushed back against the full-steam-ahead attitude of the standing-room-only audience and her fellow board members, warning that funding for the Green Line Extension is still $73 million short and the shortfall could increase as the Federal Transit Administration reviews the project. She also expressed concern that the mega-project could overwhelm MBTA management and divert attention from the transit agency’s ongoing struggle to improve existing service.
Pollack’s cautionary comments were jarring to some. After all, she used to be a transportation advocate with the Conservation Law Foundation, the environmental group that won the state’s commitment to extend the Green Line into Somerville and Medford as a way to offset the impact of increased pollution from the Big Dig. More than a dozen years ago, when officials were fretting about the project’s price tag, she dismissed their concerns. “They can’t just say, ‘We’re broke,’” she said.
But as Gov. Charlie Baker’s secretary of transportation, Pollack now finds herself on the other side of the table. As transportation advocates urge her and other state officials to do their job and build the Green Line Extension, she urged caution, at one point saying the project is not the most important thing for the T to do be doing over the next three years.
Rafael Mares, a vice president at the Conservation Law Foundation, said Pollack’s tone then and now reflect her different positions. “She had a different boss then,” he said.
Lowell Sun columnist Peter Lucas suggests Senate President Stanley Rosenberg’s role model is former Senate president William Bulger, a very bad choice in Lucas’s view. Lucas based his take on an interview Rosenberg gave to WGBH last week in which the Senate President took a more nuanced position on Bulger.
Joan Vennochi says the transgender rights debate comes down to whether the state will side with North Carolina or against discrimination. (Boston Globe)
Quincy’s outside financial advisor is urging officials to consider raising taxes in an effort to chip away at the city’s $650 million in unfunded liabilities, primarily pension and health care costs. (Patriot Ledger)
Construction costs for the Berkshire Innovation Center are running way over budget, anywhere from $3 million to $6 million. (Berkshire Eagle)
Fighting city hall: A 300-pound man tried to storm his way into Mayor Marty Walsh’s office last month before he was subdued by City Hall security staff. (Boston Globe)
Quincy hired four new police officers but bypassed two men who were ordered by the state to be placed at the top of the Civil Service list. (Patriot Ledger)
President Obama later this month will become the first sitting US president to visit Hiroshima. Aides say he will not apologize for the use of the atomic bomb in World War II but rather focus on the danger of spreading nuclear weapons. (New York Times)
North Carolina and the US Justice Department sue each other over North Carolina’s LGBT law. (WBUR)
H.D.S. Greenway, a former Globe editorial page editor, says Hillary Clinton should nominate Barack Obama to the Supreme Court if she is elected. (Boston Globe)
Humane Society International is helping to find homes for dogs taken from a South Korean dog meat farm. Five of the dogs are headed for a shelter in East Brookfield. (Telegram & Gazette)
An effort by conservative Republicans to consider running an independent presidential candidate because they cannot abide Donald Trump as the party standard-bearer is proceeding, even though most agree that such a move would hand the election to Hillary Clinton. (Boston Globe) New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will head any Trump transition team. (Governing) A Berkshire Eagle editorial criticizes Republicans such as Gov. Charlie Baker for sitting on the sidelines while Trump becomes the GOP nominee.
Time sums up the emerging presidential race this way: Boor vs. bore.
Scott Brown, who some think is auditioning to be Trump’s VP, dutifully calls on Republicans to unite behind him and he paints Clinton to be everything her most ardent detractors say – and perhaps more. (Boston Herald). Meanwhile, Jaclyn Cashman says Elizabeth Warren looks like she’s trying-out for the VP slot under Clinton, with her attack-dog Tweetstorm against Trump. (Boston Herald) The New York Times also tees up Warren’s all-out attacks on Trump.
Roberta Schaefer and Rick Rushton engage in a point-counterpoint on legalizing marijuana. (Telegram & Gazette)
Friendly’s Ice Cream is selling its retail ice cream business and its Wilbraham manufacturing facility to Dean Foods for $155 million. (Masslive)
Political consultant Dave Heller is reportedly in talks to buy the Lowell Spinners. (The Sun)
The CEO of the Lending Club resigned amid allegations of financial improprieties with loans and reporting, a move that has revealed growing problems throughout the online lending industry. (New York Times)
School superintendents in districts serving lots of poor kids are complaining about a change in the way state aid to schools is calculated that will reduce the number of students considered disadvantaged. Kevin Cullen calls the change “ludicrous.” (Boston Globe)
New Bedford elementary school students, who have been released early on Fridays since 1975, will now have a full week of learning under a new contract the city signed with teachers that calls for wage hikes and new hires. (Standard-Times)
Harvard students, most of them women, protest a decision barring members of final clubs from serving as captains of athletic teams or heading student organizations. (The Harvard Crimson)
Robert Lamb Jr., a former CFO of FleetBoston Financial, will reportedly be tapped later this week to become the new chairman of the Suffolk University board of trustees, which has been in a nasty and public battle with the university’s president, Margaret McKenna. (Boston Herald)
A gay man whose job offer to run the food services department at Fontbonne Academy in Milton was rescinded when the Catholic all-girls school learned he was in a same-sex marriage has reached a confidential settlement with the school. (Boston Globe)
A judge gave Boston Children’s Hospital the go-ahead on plans to develop a new building on the site of Prouty Garden, a green space that patients, families, and hospital employees have come to treasure as a tranquil “healing” oasis amidst the high-tech medicine of the Longwood Medical Area. (Boston Globe)
Governing examines how California keeps health premiums down.
The MBTA cuts Green Line Extension costs by $622 million. (CommonWealth)
The MBTA is taking a risk in using a construction method for the Green Line Extension that it has little experience with. (CommonWealth)
A Berkshire Superior Court judge rules that Kinder Morgan can build its Connecticut expansion natural gas pipeline through the Otis State Forest. (Masslive)
Sue Tierney, who served as secretary of environmental affairs in the Weld administration, says carbon pricing is smart public policy. (CommonWealth)
A Haverhill family donates 10 acres of wooded land to the Crystal Lake conservation and recreation area. (Eagle-Tribune)
Two former students at the Fessenden School in Newton who allege they were sexually abused by staff members while students there in decades ago call for a federal inquiry into the issue. (Boston Globe)
The owner of a New Bedford fishing fleet, known around the docks as the “Codfather,” has been indicted along with a Bristol County Sheriff deputy on charges of lying to federal regulators about fish catches and smuggling cash out of the country. (Standard-Times)
Former FBI agent Robert Fitzpatrick, who perjured himself in the Whitey Bulger trial, would get two years probation under a sentencing recommendation from federal prosecutors. (Boston Herald)
A Howie Carr column in the Boston Herald may have forced Richard Theroux out of a race for state rep. (Masslive)
Facebook denies allegations its reviewers suppress trending topics that might be of interest to conservatives and pump up items of interest to liberals.Dan Kennedy dismisses a piece in Editor & Publisher about the revival of newspapers and says nostalgia and the septic pool of Internet commenting are not going to save the industry. (WGBH)
Hingham native Sean McDonough, who was a Patriot Ledger all-scholastic in high school and worked as an intern in the paper’s sports department in college, has been named the play-by-play announcer for Monday Night Football on ESPN. (Providence Journal)