Little support for boosting Green Line state aid
Transportation officials leave project cancellation on table
STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE
TWO MEMBERS of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors on Monday said they are “reluctant” to put more money towards the Green Line extension project and transportation officials unanimously supported a resolution that keeps project cancellation a major possibility.
This summer, transportation officials announced the estimated cost of the trolley extension through Somerville and into Medford had jumped from $2 billion to $3 billion and the MBTA estimated $742 million in “sunk costs” even if the state decides to cancel the project.
Members of the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board and the MassDOT Board indicated major reluctance towards chipping in more than the roughly $1 billion initially laid out by the state, on top of about $1 billion from the Federal Transit Administration.
Those holding the purse-strings for the state said they would be reluctant to contribute additional Massachusetts taxpayer dollars for the increased project cost.
“I would be highly reluctant to invest any more money into this project,” said Robert Moylan Jr., a member of the MassDOT board.
Betsy Taylor, another member of the board, said she is “reluctant to put additional money towards the Green Line Extension.”
Members of the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board and the MassDOT board said they wanted local leaders to contribute to the project.
“I keep hearing that you guys are going to put some skin in the game, and we’re looking for that,” said Russell Gittlen, a member of the MassDOT board, referring to leaders in Cambridge, Somerville, and Medford. Other means of completing the project without an additional state expenditure include reducing the project’s scope or finding more cost-efficient ways of accomplishing the work.
A resolution adopted at the meeting said “it is the unanimous sense of both the MBTA Fiscal Management and Control Board and the Board of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation that until a cost-effective, affordable version of the project has been redesigned and reprocured, canceling the project and investing the unspent Commonwealth share of the project funding on the core MBTA system will remain an option for both boards.”In a Dec. 10 letter to Pollack, Congressman Michael Capuano of Somerville said he recognized that state officials faced difficult decisions, but urged that “any changes to the overall project should not prevent the delivery of long overdue, equitable transit options for residents living in the GLX area.”
Michael Norton contributed to this report.