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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Green Line Extension News...

Lowell Street/Magoun Square Station
 MassDOT and the MBTA this week received full federal environmental approval for the Green Line Extension project. The Federal Transit Administration released a Finding of No Significant Impact for the project, reaffirming its myriad environmental, mobility, economic development, and community-building benefits. Federal environmental clearance is the culmination of several years of technical work done by MassDOT and the MBTA with close cooperation from the Cities of Cambridge, Somerville, and Medford, as well as the participation of hundreds of individuals and local organizations. The Finding of No Significant Impact will be available on the Green Line Extension project website at http://www.greenlineextension.org/docs_EnvAssess.html.

The release of the Finding of No Significant Impact was preceded by preliminary approval for federal funding to support the construction of the Green Line Extension. MassDOT and the MBTA are applying for 'New Starts' monies from the Federal Transit Administration to fund approximately one-half of the full costs of the engineering and construction of the Green Line Extension project. The New Starts program is one of the most competitive funding programs in the nation, and MassDOT and the MBTA have spent four years preparing application materials in support of the Green Line Extension. Preliminary approval under the New Starts program is a major step forward for the Green Line Extension project. More information can be found at http://www.greenlineextension.org/docs_FTA_NewStarts.html.

Approval into the New Starts 'pipeline' means that the MBTA may be able, in the future, to seek reimbursement from the Federal Transit Administration for expenditures associated with the Green Line Extension project. However, final authority to seek such reimbursements depends upon the Green Line Extension project being able to continue to successfully compete against other public transit projects within the New Starts program. For that to happen, the Green Line Extension project must reach and clear three additional obstacles - approval by FTA for entry into Final Design and then approval for Construction, followed by the execution of a Full Funding Grant Agreement - before the MBTA can secure federal participation in the costs of the project. MassDOT and the MBTA are committed to continuing to work towards that goal.

Reaching these milestones represents a significant commitment of staff and financial resources by the Patrick-Murray Administration, and bespeaks the many public benefits promised by the Green Line Extension project.

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