State transit officials are weighing a variety options after new estimates on extending the - MBTA’s Green Line - show the project could wind up costing a billion dollars more than first estimated……. System officials say the ballooning cost now put the project’s future in question…the project has long been a priority for US Congressman Michael Capuano.
Congressman Michael Capuano has been fighting for the Green Line extension for his entire career. So he’s taking this latest hitch in stride.
“I can’t say it’s a shock,” he says. “I’d be more shocked if a project of this size did not have cost adjustments as you went along. And I fear that this one will not be last before the project is complete.”
That last phrase, “before the project is complete,” is a crucial one, given State Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack’s comments that ballooning cost estimates mean that all options are now on the table, including abandoning the project altogether.
However, Capuano doesn’t think that will be the case. “No. There’s no way this will be scraped,” he says. “Again, will the project be trimmed back? That’s a possibility. Will the time frame be changed? That’s a possibility. There’s a hundred possibilities. The possibility of it being scrapped I think is virtually non-existent.”
Capuano expects the state will rework the plan to bring their portion of the costs down to a manageable level. I say “their portion” because the federal government - largely thanks to Capuano’s – is kicking in nearly a billion dollars for the project – money that MBTA interim GM that Frank DePaola warned could now be in jeopardy.
“If they change it so dramatically, that it would not have met federal requirements in the first place, they could lose their money. I do not think that is going to happen,” said Capuano.
While Capuano says he’s actively speaking with Governor Baker, Secretary Pollack and Somerville Mayor Joe Cutatone, there’s really not much else he can do.
“Well right now, the most important thing I do is wait for the State to come up with their next step,” he says. “They’re the ones that have to sit back and sharpen their pencils, see what they can cut back, what they can’t, what they can reorder and then to react to that.”
And so - once again - Congressman Capuano is waiting for a train.