OK, I’m taking my life into my own hands by trusting BostonNOW … which is reporting that Gov. Patrick wants to build the billion-dollar Silver Line tunnel before getting to the Green Line extension to Medford, which has been pushed back — again. BostonNow also reports some Roxbury/Dorchester folks seem not to really want the tunnel.
I don’t know, that may be representative of the general sentiment and it may not be. But goodness, the Silver Line is just a bad, bad joke. Here’s what the Sierra Club wrote in Spring of 2005:
Why Pay More for Less?
As a rule we all want more for less. The MBTA has turned that theory on its head with the Silver bus
Line ? they want less for more. According to MBTA studies the price will be approximately $1 billion to build a bus tunnel. But those same MBTA studies say that to use the existing light rail tunnels for Green Line type trains would only cost $373 million.
This project would convert the 2.4-mile long Dudley-Boylston section of the Silver Line bus rapid transit service to light rail. Service would be operated as a branch of the Green Line, making use of an abandoned Green Line tunnel segment located under Tremont Street, to access Boylston station. Stops on Washington Street between Herald St. and Dudley would remain the same as the present Silver Line. The projected capital costs would be $373.6 million.
That is a savings of more than $600 million for initial construction alone. If the MBTA moves ahead according to plans (first building as a bus project and then converting to light rail) the cost would total at least $1.3 billion.
Look, I think infrastructure investment is critical, but can we be smart about it?
From Universal Hub.
Update: In case you missed it last week: The Conservation Law Foundation slammed the Patrick administration for backing off the 2014 completion date. (The CLF originally negotiated the Big Dig pollution-offset settlement which called for the Green Line extension.)
State officials recently told a group of Somerville and Medford legislators that they will push back the project?s completion date to 2016 because they plan to seek federal New Starts funding. CLF maintains the state must fulfill its legal promise to complete the expansion by 2014.
“Not only does the Commonwealth have a legal obligation to stop its backpedaling on the Green Line Extension, it has a moral duty to reduce air pollution, spur economic development and expand transit equity for these long under-served communities,” said CLF president Phil Warburg.
Meanwhile, one of the community groups advocating for the project, Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership, said they were angry at further delay and plan a campaign to “let the Governor know that the delays are completely unacceptable.”