‘Real momentum’ behind Green Line Extension despite cost questions

Boston Business Journal | By Andy Metzger
February 14, 2017

On the brink of potential elimination a year ago, the Green Line Extension has steadily progressed to the point where design-build bids should go out by this spring and a finance plan should be submitted to federal overseers by March, according to the state’s timeline.

“Look how far we’ve come,” remarked Braintree Mayor Joe Sullivan, a member of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Board of Directors, at a board meeting Monday.

As John Dalton, the project manager hired in November, assessed a “healthy level of interest” from the industry in working on the project, Sullivan interjected, “This project was dead a year ago.”

“Well, I think I would say for certain, it’s certainly alive,” Dalton replied.

The long-sought trolley extension would bring service from East Cambridge through Somerville and into Medford. The project was put on ice in 2015 after transportation officials estimated its cost had ballooned as much as 50 percent to $3 billion.

The turnaround has hardly been dramatic, featuring incremental steps over months as officials pulled back the scale and cost of the project, brought aboard Dalton — a former Chicago Transit Authority official — and received agreements from Cambridge and Somerville to contribute a combined $75 million toward the extension with a projected $2.3 billion new price tag.

“We’ve kind of already begun the procurement process,” Dalton told the News Service on Monday. He said there is “real momentum” behind the project now.

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