Governor Deval Patrick today celebrated the start of phase one of construction to extend the MBTA's Green Line into the cities of Medford and Somerville.
"Today, we're here to reaffirm our commitment to seeing this project get under way," said Governor Patrick. "For the residents of Somerville and Medford, the Green Line extension means expanded employment opportunity, housing opportunity and recreational opportunity. This project is about more than transportation. It's about growth."
The Green Line Extension is a significant economic development and transportation access improvement project for this key region of the Commonwealth. Phase one of the Green Line Extension is a $12.9 million effort to reconstruct two railroad bridges in Medford and Somerville to accommodate new Green Line tracks. In addition, under the contract, a building in the city of Cambridge will be demolished to clear the path from extending the tracks from Lechmere Station.
On June 11, 2012, MassDOT/MBTA received notification from the Federal Transit Administration that its application to enter the preliminary engineering phase of the project for the New Starts Program was approved. This approval puts the Green Line Extension project in a position where it can compete for funding to finance approximately half the project's total cost.
"This project is a long time coming, and we're grateful to all of the advocates who have kept this project in the forefront of our minds," said MassDOT Secretary and CEO Richard A. Davey. "We're excited that work along this corridor is taking a major step forward and we look forward to continue making progress."
"This makes a real difference for folks in Medford and Somerville by making their daily commute a lot easier. I'm grateful to Governor Patrick and his team for digging in and helping to make this smart investment in our infrastructure and I know it'll pay economic dividends," said Senator John Kerry.
"Somerville has been waiting a long time for the Green Line Extension and today is noteworthy because preliminary construction work is finally beginning," said Congressman Mike Capuano. "We all know that resources are limited and I appreciate the Commonwealth's efforts to move this project along."
"The Green Line extension is incredibly important to the City of Medford, the City of Somerville, and the surrounding communities. It will create jobs, strengthen our local economy, and expand public transportation options in Massachusetts," said Congressman Ed Markey, Dean of the Massachusetts Congressional delegation. "I commend Governor Deval Patrick and Secretary Richard A. Davey for their commitment to making this vital mass transit project move forward."
"Today's groundbreaking is a tribute to the hard work of so many people over so many years to get this project moving and keep it on track," said Senator Pat Jehlen. "However, the enormity of the task in front of us has not changed. Passing comprehensive transportation reform next legislative session is the single most important thing for the future of the Green Line Extension and transportation needs across the Commonwealth, and will require continued hard work from advocates and elected officials alike."
"I am thrilled that the start of construction for the Green Line Extension to Somerville and Medford has finally occurred," said Representative Carl Sciortino. "The work that starts today on both ends of the project is not going to stop until we have trains running the entire length of the Green Line Extension corridor."
"I am thankful to MassDOT, and to my colleagues and community advocates in Somerville, for continuously prioritizing this long-awaited project," said Representative Denise Provost. "Today's start of construction demonstrates that the Green Line Extension is happening, and will keep Somerville's economic development plans on track, while providing overdue environmental justice and transportation equity to our city."
"The Green Line Extension is incredibly important for the district I represent," said State Representative Tim Toomey. "Getting this project started represents a significant step toward justice for communities that have long been under-served by public transit. There is still a lot of work to be done, but we are committed to seeing it through until the end."
The contractor for the project is Barletta Heavy Division. The project entails reconstructing the Harvard Street Bridge in Medford and the Medford Street Bridge in Somerville. The Harvard Street Bridge reconstruction will begin this month; the Medford Street Bridge reconstruction will begin in the spring of 2013. Demolition of the building located at 21 Water Street in Cambridge will occur later in 2013. The overall project is expected to cost $1.12 billion.
"Today we break ground on a major transportation investment that will bring thousands of new jobs to Somerville and the entire region," said Somerville Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone. "Somerville has worked in close partnership with MassDOT and the MBTA to bring the Green Line Extension to Somerville by early 2017. With this construction project, we are on schedule to deliver on that shared commitment. Throughout their tenures, Governor Patrick and Secretary Davey have offered visionary and productive leadership in the necessary effort to give our state a 21st century transportation system -- and I want to restate Somerville's appreciation for having such strong and committed partners at the state level. Projects like the Green Line Extension and the Orange Line station at Assembly Square continue to make Somerville a national showcase for smart-growth urban development."
"The reconstruction of the Harvard Street Bridge is the first visible sign that the Green Line extension is a realty and on its way. It begins the rebuilding of our infrastructure; it creates jobs, expands economic opportunity, helps to improve our environment and provides expanded public transportation for our region. I thank Governor Deval Patrick, Lieutenant Governor Tim Murray, and Secretary Richard Davey, for their leadership and commitment to this project," said Medford Mayor Michael J. McGlynn.