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Green Line Extension Still a Go, Kind Of

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Epic project scaled back, needs millions in funds; construction could take at least five years

Peter Alfred Hess via Flickr

Two key state boards on Monday agreed to submit a revised $2,300,000,000 plan to the feds to extend the Green Line through Somerville into Medford.

The 4.7-mile extension is one of the biggest transportation projects in Massachusetts in living memory—and is apparently one of the most Herculean. First broached in the late 1980s, it has faced years of delays, adjustments, cost overruns, and just plain panic over its possible incompletion.

Monday's votes give the Green Line extension new life, but by no means ensure its success. The Globe's Nicole Dungca has the goods: [I]t must still clear several significant hurdles in coming months, including finding at least $73 million more in funding, getting another green light from the Federal Transit Administration, and hiring and training dozens of MBTA officials in a new contracting method."

There's also the matter of the actual extension's actual construction, which could take at least five more years and face possibly terminal delays along the way (ancillary construction, including infrastructure work on the proposed route, is already underway). For now, though, officials are expressing optimism that the whole shebang is finally rolling.

What, exactly, will the extension now entail, though? Under the revised $2.3B plan, the six new stations and the relocated Lechmere stop remain. But more of them will be open-air rather than enclosed in elaborate buildings, according to the Globe. While that change is not sitting too well with some, it shaved nearly $300M from the extension's cost. Also, not every station will have fare gates or elevators now, and a proposed community path has been shrunk from 7,000 feet to 3,000.

Stay tuned.