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$393 Million Approved to Bring Green Line to Union Square, Washington Street

The funding is expected to bring real tracks, stations and trains to Somerville. "It is a big deal," said Somerville's director of transportation and infrastructure.

Credit: Chris Orchard
Credit: Chris Orchard
It's official: The MassDOT Board of Directors Wednesday approved a $393 million contract that will bring the Green Line Extension to Union Square and Washington Street in Somerville, according to Hayes Morrison, director of transportation and infrastructure for the city of Somerville.

"It's not 'kind' of a big deal, it is a big deal," said Morrison when asked about the contract.

She described the funding as money that will bring actual tracks, stations, "choo-choos" and T riders to Union Square and Washington Street.

In a unanimous vote, the MassDOT board approved an intergovernmental service agreement with White Skanska Kiewit, a firm that will conduct the construction, Morrison said.

"The expectation is this amount of money will get phase 2 and 2A of the Green Line in place," she said, referring to the phases that will bring Green Line service to Union Square and Washington Street. It will also pay to move Lechmere Station to the other side of the O'Brien Highway in Cambridge—a necessary step in order to send trains into Somerville.

Phase 3 of the Green Line project consists of building a new maintenance facility, and Phase 4 would bring Green Line service through Somerville to College Avenue in Medford.

The MBTA is seeking about $557 million in federal New Starts funding to complete phases 3 and 4 of the project. Morrison said the $393 million allocated Wednesday would send a "significant" signal to the New Starts program that the Green Line Extension is a strong project.

Before construction can begin, the MassDOT Board of Directors needs to approve a "notice to proceed," Morrison said. A notice to proceed is somewhat of a formality, and it's expected to be approved in early 2014.

By approving the $393 in funding this month, the project has remained on schedule, Morrison said. Service should come to Union Square by early 2017.

Morrison credited the "amazing relationship" among Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone, Gov. Deval Patrick and Richard Davey, secretary of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, for bringing the Green Line Extension to this milestone.
Rob Buchanan September 25, 2013 at 06:49 PM
Pinch me so I know I'm not dreaming! Great news. Q: Since the Green Line already has a Washington Street Station and a Washington Sq Station, I wonder if we ought to call this something else? I bet someone's already asked this question.
Sand Man September 25, 2013 at 06:59 PM
Goodbye renters, mom-and-pop stores.. Hello, backroom deals, payoffs and Yuppie Heaven....
AHM September 25, 2013 at 07:20 PM
Just today I see the country has enough money to make it to October 17.
Julia Prange Wallerce September 25, 2013 at 09:46 PM
This is great news! More evidence that the GLX is a reality for Union Square. And yes, we need to be cognizant of the real risk that this expansion of transportation access- while needed- poses to existing families and businesses as property values rise with demand. Let's act now to prevent this from happening so we can keep the character and diversity we love about our neighborhood. Increasing the city's Inclusionary Zoning requirement from 12.5% to 20% would be a great place to start, as would raising the housing linkage fee on development. There's a lot that can be done to make the GLX an asset to everyone.
SomervilleGirl September 26, 2013 at 07:52 AM
Should we expect to see more fires or are they done with that now?
SomervilleGirl September 26, 2013 at 07:55 AM
AHM, Cayman island off shore accounts are calling, but there is no answer. Are they planning to extent tax breaks into the next millennium?
Joe Lynch September 26, 2013 at 02:20 PM
and so the prediction will come true.............the Somerville and Medford Green Line extension end of the line, for the foreseeable future, will be Union Square.............maybe one day when I'm a resident of the VNA on Lowell Street, third floor corner room, I'll see them surveying for the Lowell Street station. Good Luck Union Square.

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