TransitMatters is disappointed to hear of significant cost overruns expected on the MBTA Green Line Extension (GLX) to Somerville and Medford. We reiterate our support for this project as it fills an important gap in the MBTA rapid transit network and will open new opportunities for residents, employees and visitors in the region’s most dense city—Somerville—and throughout the region.
The complementary Community Path extension is a key component of the project which will greatly improve access to and within Somerville and Cambridge with fast, frequent, safe, and reliable transportation by reconstructing an underutilized right of way.
It is important not to further delay a valuable public investment that has been planned and designed with significant public input over many years. Reducing the scope of the project or eliminating elements of it would invalidate the public process and reduce the project’s economic and community development impacts, which would far outweigh even the highest cost estimates.
While there is growing pressure to reduce the project's cost, we must not undermine the effectiveness of the Green Line Extension. We share the desire to complete projects efficiently, but this project's cost overruns did not result from extravagant stations or unnecessary components. Trying to extract savings from basics like stations, bridges, and the maintenance facility is short-sighted and will result in higher long-term operating costs.
- Reducing station access and comfort will reduce the effectiveness of the project by attracting fewer riders.
- Removing fare gates from stations will increase delays as trains idle to collect fares at the front door, and require more trains (higher operating cost) for the same frequency.
- Shrinking the maintenance facility means disabled trolleys will have to be towed all the way to Riverside for repairs.
- The Community Path fills a major gap in the bike path network. Failing to build it will invite more car drivers who would otherwise be bicycle riders, increasing bus delays.
- Green Line Extension is an excellent investment that is cost effective and environmentally smart. Compromising the project will mean that nobody can trust our future commitments. We must move forward on this vital investment for our future, without delay.