Transportation Special Updates

Transportation Bond Bill passes Senate

Yesterday the Senate unanimously passed a Transportation Bond Bill. This crucial legislative package provides funding authorization for key projects across the state over the next five years – most notably, the bill includes all of the money needed for the Green Line Extension!

This is an enormous step in the right direction, but the transportation funding process is complex and there's more work ahead.  Want an explanation of the full process?  Call my office: 617.722.1578.

Two Huge Milestones for the Green Line Extension

After over a decade of work by residents, advocates, elected officials and MassDOT staff, we are now significantly closer to the day when MBTA Green Line trains will open their doors to riders in Somerville and Medford. 

The bond bill includes authorization of $1.3 billion in state funding for the GLX, enough to cover the entire anticipated price tag of the project.

The state has also submitted a federal New Starts grant application that, if approved, would pay for over $500 million of the cost.  At a meeting Tuesday, MBTA General Manager Beverly Scott announced that Pres. Obama’s budget, just released, recommends $100 million in federal funding for the GLX for fiscal 2015. This is a very positive sign that the full grant will be approved, though more work will be needed to document the project and the state's long-term ability to fund its operations.

Take a Virtual Ride on the GLX

Get a virtual tour here if you missed the presentations at the local meetings about sound barriers and construction.

Local Projects in the Bond Bill

The Senate also authorized funding for the following local projects in our district:
- $2,750,000 for traffic signal and roadway improvements in Medford Square and at the intersection of Route 16 and Main St
- $75,000 for pedestrian safety improvements adjacent to Dilboy Stadium and the Capen Court rotary in Somerville 
- $500,000 for pedestrian safety and bus accessibility improvements at the intersection of Fresh Pond Parkway and Mt. Auburn St. in Cambridge
- $500,000 for repair and rehabilitation of the bridge across the Aberjona River on Mount Vernon street in the town of Winchester
- $7,500,000 for a parking garage in Medford Square

Local Jobs and Workforce Development

Over the past two years I've been working with community advocates from Somerville Community Corporation, MassDOT officials and colleagues in the Somerville legislative delegation to find ways to connect local residents with employment opportunities created by local projects.  After looking at workforce training models across the country, we are developing a potential pilot program for the Green Line Extension.  If successful, this initiative will provide opportunities for local residents to be trained for and placed in jobs created by the GLX and other big projects in the future. 

Safe Driving Bill

On Wednesday roughly 500 supporters came to the State House to support the Safe Driving Bill, which I filed with Rep. Farley-Bouvier.

The bill would allow distinctive licenses to be issued to undocumented immigrants with the goal of improving road safety by requiring that those drivers pass the driving test, pay RMV fees, and insure their cars.  It would also ensure that first responders and law enforcement could reliably identify people who are injured or stopped for violations.  Wherever you stand on immigration, I believe we can find common ground in this measure to train, license and insure every single driver in Massachusetts.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that almost 1 in every 5 fatal car crashes in the United States involves an unlicensed driver. The report also found unlicensed drivers are five times more likely to be in a fatal crash than are validly licensed drivers. This legislation would make our roads safer for all drivers.

Additionally, if you're in an accident with an uninsured driver who's at fault, you will not recover the deductible of $500 to $1000.

Different in appearance from a standard license, the cards cannot be used as an official ID and will not enable people to vote, receive benefits, or board airplanes. They are invalid without proof of liability insurance. 

The Registrar of Motor Vehicles testified that the bill could raise $15 million in additional revenue through RMV fees paid by newly-licensed drivers.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.


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