T hires interim Green Line ext. team
Group to scale back costs, find more revenue
THE MBTA ON MONDAY named an interim leadership team that will be charged with bringing the cost of the proposed Green Line extension to Somerville and Medford in line with available revenues.
The project was originally slated to cost $2 billion, with half coming from the federal government and half coming from the state. When cost estimates ballooned to $3 billion last year, the T’s Fiscal Management and Control Board put the project on hold as it tried to figure out whether the project was still doable.
At its Monday meeting, the board didn’t give a green light to the Green Line extension, but it did give T officials the authority to pull together a team tasked with matching costs with revenues. By May, the team is expected to scale back the size and cost of the project; come up with additional revenue from Somerville, Cambridge, and businesses in those communities; and recommend a new method of hiring contractors. An untested contracting method that gave considerably more power to the previous Green Line extension contractor is blamed for some of the project’s ballooning costs.Frank DePaola, the T’s general manager, said he has retained a search firm to hire a full-time manager for the project and others like it in the future. In the meantime, he received approval from the oversight board to hire an interim project team led by Jack Wright, a veteran of the MBTA and the Big Dig project who currently works as transportation leader at Weston & Sampson, an environmental/infrastructure consultant in Peabody.
DePaola also won approval to spend more than $4 million for change orders in connection with existing contracts on the Green Line extension, several of them with White Skanska Kiewit, the contractor whose ballooning cost estimates for the Green Line extension led state officials to put the project on hold. DePaola said $1.4 million of the change orders is to install treatment plants to address groundwater contamination associated with the project so far.