A consultancy that the MBTA board hired to curb the costs of the suddenly super-expensive Green Line extension through Somerville into Medford is suggesting titanic cuts to the long-awaited project. Namely, the consultants want the state to redesign new stations along the way to make them cheaper to build—and to do away altogether with the planned Union Square stop, even though that area is one of the game-change-ier ones in a Somerville desperately awaiting the economic benefits of the trolleys through town. Yet, at the exact same time as the ax starts to descend on much of the Green Line extension, word comes that the state and private boosters are positively giddy over a helipad in the Seaport.
It seems that General Electric's decision to relocate its corporate headquarters to the Seaport District could mean monies for a public-use helipad to ferry business execs and others to and from the city's downtown. Boston hasn't had such a landing area for more than 15 years (heavens!), though various hospitals and media organizations boast whirlybird ports.
The Globe's Jon Chesto has the details: "GE's incentive package includes up to $120 million in state-funded infrastructure improvements, a figure that could include money for 'public helicopter landing facilities,' according to documents released by Governor Charlie Baker's office Wednesday." General Electric would not be the helipad's only user, however. Tourism companies would likely use it as would other firms looking to spirit their own visitors quickly from town. As Chesto points out, too, "movie and news crews could use it as a staging point." Think of the aerial shots and the action-flick scenes. It'll be years, of course, before any GE helipad happens; but, like with the rejuvenation of the Old Northern Avenue Bridge, the idea is definitely out there.
As for the Green Line extension, well, that may prove a little too blue sky.
· GE Lands. Will a Helipad Take Off? [Globe]
· Severe Cuts Due in Green Line Project [Globe]
· No Green Line Extension?! A Lot of People Are Worried [Curbed Boston]
· Somerville's 197 Union Square Reaching Sales Tipping Point [Curbed Boston]
· Somerville Is Doomed to Be a More Desirable Place to Live [Curbed Boston]
· Boston's Old Northern Avenue Bridge Could Reopen [Curbed Boston]
· What GE Employees Will Find Housing-Wise in Boston [Curbed Boston]