The future of public transportation in Massachusetts

On February 16, 2017, in Latest News, by The Somerville Times

By Daniel Sullivan

(The opinions and views expressed in the commentaries and letters to the Editor of The Somerville Times belong solely to the authors and do not reflect the views or opinions of The Somerville Times, its staff or publishers)

Recently I attended a forum on the future of public transportation in Massachusetts. It was held at 50 Middlesex Ave in Somerville. I was invited by State Senator Pat Jehlen. So I’ve been making friends in high places. Not really a big deal.

At the podium Senate President Rosenburg, impressed with the turnout remarked, “I had to send 18 senators back to the State House.” Someone in the crowd said, “Why don’t we all go to the State House?” Someone else – and I won’t say who – quipped, “Oh no, that way we’d never get anything done.” All in good fun.

There were about 80 of us and we split off into focus groups of 8 or so. My concern in particular was the completion of the Green Line Extension. That could be a beautiful thing if we did it right. State of the art stations with heat would be nice. The building of a foot bridge which could cross the rail bed and make possible a walk/bike path with only a little more imagination could extend eastward, all the way to the Charles.

Others had very ambitious, expensive, but doable ideas, including the building of a tunnel which would connect North and South stations and a commuter railway which would run alongside Rte. 128 (Rte. 95 to newcomers) from Gloucester to Braintree.

The meeting wrapped up in about three and a half hours, none of which hours were wasted. State Transportation Secretary McGee, (sorry to keep namedropping) when I told him I write, invited me to a meeting of the same concern in the North Shore. This will happen in April. There will be nine of these workshops going on in the Commonwealth between now and May.

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1 Response » to “The future of public transportation in Massachusetts”

  1. ritepride says:

    “Tunnel connecting North & South Stations”. “Commuter rail along Rte 95 (128)”. Yes in my youth (Yute) I went to a lot of meetings on public issues. During the “Big Dig”, et tu brute! The Grand Ripoff Of Taxpayers. Big Dig Plans included the construction of said tunnels between North & South Stations but as usual No one involved with the project sent the final plans to the feds in D.C. for final funding approval. About two years ago with the fanfare for the GLX someone from DOT or “T” hit the feds in D.C. to fund said tunnel project. After much rolling on the floor laughing, the boys in D.C. reminded the boys in Boston that the funding was available during the feeding frenzy at the trough in the Big Dig error but no one here submitted the paperwork and said goodbye to the Boon gang.

    During the Red Line Phase there was talk of a second Red Line phase bringing the Red Line from Alewife along either Rte 2 to 128 or the nearby Fresh Pond “T” commuter tracks to 128, then down to run up along the Pike to Framingham.
    That plan seemed to fade, most likely as the “T” already has linkage on the Amtrak line that already runs thu Framingham.

    Meanwhile we all wait for the GLX extension of which the deadline has been extended several times, now said to be done in 2021 provided enough funding exists. The Legislators just placed a budget busting 18 million to give themselves raises, the mayor/BOA just got hefty raises + the Curtatone Plan of taking taxpayers money to pay for “T” money expenses ($50 million/GLX) & private developers expenses Assembly Row ($25 million +/infrastructure).

    “T” officials stating new rapid transit cars + new trolley cars & track/signals are Priority One. Then GLX funding will be addressed. You can bet that if the people in Newton & Wellesley can stand in the open on platforms waiting for the trains, the Somerville Strong crowd will be doing he same and those expensive glass structures have been erased off he GLX plans.

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