Green Line Extension to move forward?

The MBTA has released its report on the Green Line Extension (with summary here). Here’s a statement near the end:

 If the GLX project is to move forward, the next step would be to enter into detailed discussions with FTA to seek approval of the redesign, the new cost estimate, the identified risks and risk mitigation strategies, and the overall process for releasing the New Starts funding (e.g. the Full Funding Grant Agreement).

You might notice that ‘if’. This is curious since:

And since the state is required to complete the project as part of a lawsuit settlement to mitigate the environmental impacts of the Big Dig, canceling it could leave the state open to litigation. However, an attorney for the T said Wednesday the state has legal alternatives — such as replacing the Green Line extension with a project that “provides at least 110 percent of the air quality benefits of the original project.”

Rafael Mares, with the Conservation Law Foundation, the group that negotiated the original commitment to build the project, says any alternatives would have to be built in the same service area — something he doesn’t see as feasible.

It would be interesting to see what a court would do if the state decided not to build the extension–would the court step in to make the state proceed?

The report says there is still a $73 million gap in funding and the state has emphatically stated they will not pay any more:

The $300 million difference between the prior $2 billion budget and the new $2.3 billion figure would be filled in part by $152 million in federal funds that had been allocated for a later phase of the project, which would have brought further expansion to Medford, and $75 million combined from the cities of Somerville and Cambridge.

That still leaves a budget gap of $73 million with no source so far. Under the terms of a rule set by the two boards late last year, that additional funding can’t come from the state.

Here’s one of the cuts:

A vehicle maintenance facility has also been trimmed down significantly, accounting for $115 million in savings.

Well, it’s not like there are maintenance problems with the T now.

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