Massachusetts’ plan to extend the MBTA Green Line light rail service from East Cambridge to Somerville and Medford got a major boost with the announcement of a $996 million federal grant agreement.
Governor Deval Patrick and U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx were joined by state, local and federal officials for the ceremony to commit the funds for the Green Line Extension (GLX) project.
GLX is a $2.3 billion project, with the Commonwealth covering the rest of the funding. The $996 million federal grant for the project will be provided through the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grant Program (New Starts).
Work on the 4.7-mile light rail extension project began after the groundbreaking in 2012, and it is being built in four overlapping phases through 2020. It includes construction of six new stations, and purchase of 24 new light rail vehicles. They’ll also be building a new vehicle maintenance facility and a community bicycle and pedestrian path.
Once completed, trains will run every five to six minutes in the peak period, providing fast and efficient service between Boston and densely populated communities which currently lack rail transit even though 26 percent of residents in these areas do not own or have access to cars.
Gov. Patrick said in a release announcing the federal funding commitment that residents of Somerville, Cambridge and Medford will have more options for how they get to work, school and play. This, said the Governor, would lead to sustainable, smart growth in the local economies.
MassDOT Acting Secretary and CEO Frank DePaola said in the release that not only will GLX increase access to affordable, sustainable rapid transit but will also reduce traffic congestion and emissions as well.
Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) General Manager Dr. Beverly Scott said that the investment in GLX will pay dividends down the line not just in expanding access to transit, but also through increased opportunities for Medford, Somerville and Cambridge economic development through the GLX MassWIN program.
MassDOT and the MBTA launched the Massachusetts Workforce Initiative Now (MassWIN) GLX Program as a pilot project focused on job creation and workforce development in the communities along the GLX route.
It is designed to help build sustainable communities through local participation and collaborative partnerships in transportation projects.
Specifically, the program is designed to identify, assess, and train residents so that they can meet the hiring requirements for local transportation and construction job opportunities created through GLX. Placing community members into career paths in these fields will help build sustainable communities by expanding the local workforce, businesses and neighborhoods.