T spin on the Green Line Ext.
In June emails, official said 'nothing has changed'
I heard the cost of the Green Line Extension was spinning out of control in early June, but I had no proof and ended up not writing anything. That’s my bad. But my back-and-forth with the MBTA on the issue, all captured in emails, is nevertheless very revealing about the mindset of government officials, and their willingness to be open about a major setback for a key transportation project.
I got wind of the escalating Green Line costs in June in fairly random fashion from a source I had never dealt with before. The tip was surprising, since the Patrick administration at the end of last year had led everyone to believe that the project was on track thanks to a nearly $1 billion federal appropriation. I ran my tip by Joe Pesaturo, the MBTA spokesman, who in his responses to me copied Michael Verseckes, the spokesman for the Department of Transportation. Here is what Pesaturo had to say back in June. (To enlarge the email exchange, click on it.)
Pesaturo’s insistence that nothing had changed put me in an awkward position. I didn’t know my source well enough to go with the story. Besides, the information I had was vague. I ran my tip by a couple other officials, but none of them knew anything. I never got the opportunity to question Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack or T interim General Manager Frank DePaola.
After the news broke, I emailed both Pesaturo and Verseckes to ask them about their earlier comments. Here is my exchange with Pesaturo.
Their view seems to be that the earlier statements were accurate because nothing officially changed at the T until Monday. But something had changed, and they kept that information under wraps for more than two months until they were ready to go public with it.