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Monday, June 25, 2012

New Documents Posted for Green Line Extension

For the first time in a long time, I received an email update from the Green Line Extension Project Team. Enjoy! ~Courtney O'Keefe

A matrix of potential interim offset mitigation measures to compensate for delays in implementing the Green Line Extension project has now been posted to the Green Line Extension website under 'Hot Documents' at Such measures are required by 310 CMR 7.36: Transit System Improvements, which governs the implementation of the transportation projects identified in the State Implementation Plan. The matrix includes ideas generated by MassDOT staff and also ideas submitted to MassDOT by project stakeholders, elected officials, and members of the general public.

310 CMR 7.36 requires that any interim offset mitigation measures meet a specific air quality improvement goal: the reduction of emissions (VOC, CO, and NOx) equal to or greater than the emission reductions that would have been achieved had the Green Line Extension project not been delayed. The projected emissions reductions must be measurable.

The posted matrix includes preliminary, qualitative assessments of the potential benefits and viability of the different ideas received by MassDOT. None of the listed ideas have yet been endorsed or accepted by MassDOT. These assessments will next need to be formally analyzed, using our accepted air quality modeling methodologies, by the Central Transportation Planning Staff. That analysis will be coupled with a cost-benefit assessment that will inform MassDOT's final decision-making about which recommendations to officially propose to the Department of Environmental Protection and the public. Costs have not yet been rigorously estimated for any of the measures listed here.

The matrix includes a variety of types of potential mitigation measures, including operational improvements to the existing MBTA bus and rapid transit system, the introduction of new bus and rapid transit services, the construction of new MBTA stations and other transportation facilities (including multiuse paths), and policy and programmatic initiatives aimed at reducing vehicular travel and improving regional air quality.

In order to comply with the requirements of the State Implementation Plan, the interim offset mitigation measures must be in place and operational by December 31, 2014 (the current legal deadline for the implementation of the Green Line Extension project). While some of the proposed mitigation measures are more complex than others, all of them will require sufficient time to plan, fund, and implement. In some cases, new equipment or vehicles may need to be purchased, potentially adding substantially to the necessary lead-time. Mitigation measures that include capital construction may also require environmental review and approval.

MassDOT is seeking public input on the matrix of potential interim offset mitigation measures. Please submit any comments to by Monday, July 16, 2012. All comments will help to inform the development of the final portfolio of measures to propose to the Department of Environmental Protection.

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