Some of a $2 trillion federal infrastructure initiative taking shape in Washington could find its way back to the Boston area.
On March 31, President Trump tweeted a desire for that much spending on the nation’s roads, bridges, tunnels, ports, etc.—though there’s a dearth of specifics and the novel coronavirus is understandably swallowing nearly every new dollar that comes out of D.C.
But what if some of that hypothetical $2 trillion did wend its way up the East Coast to Greater Boston? It was federal dollars that underwrote the highway-sinking, park-creating Big Dig, the largest infrastructure project in the region’s modern history.
What other publicly needed developments might the money go toward? We open the floor to you in the comments section and on social. But allow us to put forth a few candidates.
Directly linking North and South stations. Two of New England’s busiest transportation hubs remain frustratingly separated in any direct sense, despite several years now of advocacy. Connecting North and South stations would not only link up every T line save the Blue, but would ease connections for commuter-rail and Amtrak riders. Indeed, such a link would create an unbroken rail route from Maine to D.C.
Running the Red Line to Route 128 and the Blue Line to Lynn. Back in the 1980s, it was assumed that the Red Line would keep going as far out as Route 128. Local opposition doomed the plan. As for the Blue Line to Lynn, it turns out that the original plan for the route had it going well beyond its northeastern terminus at Wonderland. Logistical and financing problems got in the way. Either extension, of course, would open up relatively faster mass transit to more residents, allowing people to settle in areas not as expensive as those closer to the region’s core.
Making the Silver Line truly shine. One of the many infrastructural boxes that officials had hoped to check coming out of that aforementioned Big Dig was a one-seat ride on the new Silver Line from Roxbury to the aviation hub. That didn’t happen. The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority soon became bogged down in simply maintaining the status quo; and the Silver Line continues to function best from South Station through parts of the Seaport District, and to Logan.
Protecting the region from the effects of climate change. Rising sea levels due to climate change could one day swamp whole swathes of our coastal region. Ensuring that doesn’t happen—or at least doesn’t happen all at once—is probably the one unifying infrastructural challenge that Greater Boston faces. Any federal funds could go toward initiatives already on the table here, including elevating transportation corridors, reworking waterfront parks to make them more resilient, and baking flood-prevention mechanisms into new buildings.