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Governor Patrick Green Line Extension, January 5, 2015Governor Deval Patrick was joined by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx today as he announced a $996 million federal grant agreement to extend the MBTA Green Line light rail service from East Cambridge to Somerville and Medford.

The Green Line Extension (GLX) will provide faster and more efficient travel downtown Boston and will serve some of the region’s most densely populated communities. Secretary Foxx and Acting Federal Transit Administrator Therese McMillan participated in a ceremony to commit the funds with Governor Patrick, Senator Elizabeth Warren, Congressman Michael Capuano, MassDOT Acting Secretary Frank DePaola, MBTA General Manager Dr. Beverly Scott and other federal, state and local officials.

“Today’s funding commitment brings the GLX another step closer to reality,” said Governor Patrick. “With the extension, residents of Somerville, Cambridge and Medford will have more options for how they get to work, school and play and, in turn, experience sustainable, smart growth in the local economies. I thank USDOT, the Obama Administration and our Congressional delegation for their commitment to this project.”

“Bringing light rail to Somerville and Medford will connect residents to work, education and other opportunities while making it easier than ever to access downtown Boston,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “We are proud to support projects like this-and recognize the need to do more. We are committed to working with Congress to find bipartisan solutions that will help the Boston region and communities across the U.S. continue to invest in and enhance their transportation systems in the years ahead.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation will contribute approximately $996 million in Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Capital Investment Grant Program (New Starts) funding over the course of the $2.3 billion project with funds from the Commonwealth covering the remainder.

The project will be constructed in four overlapping phases from 2013 to 2020. Phase I work began in January 2013 to widen two rail bridges that will carry the new Green Line tracks. Construction on the new Lechmere, East Somerville and Union Square stations will begin this spring. Once completed, trains will operate every five to six minutes in the peak period, providing fast and efficient service to Boston, and resulting in an estimated 37,900 transit trips per day.

“The commitment that federal government has demonstrated to bringing the Green Line Extension to life shows the impact that this project will have on improving transportation in the Greater Boston area,” said MassDOT Acting Secretary & CEO Frank DePaola. “Not only will GLX increase access to affordable, sustainable rapid transit but it will reduce traffic congestion and emissions as well.”

The project will include construction of six new stations, purchase of 24 new light rail vehicles, construction of a new vehicle maintenance facility, construction of a community bicycle and pedestrian path, and relocation of some existing commuter rail track.

“The investment being made in the Green Line Extension by both the federal government and the Commonwealth will pay dividends down the line, not only in expanding access to transit, but in increasing development opportunities in Cambridge, Medford and Somerville through the GLX MassWIN program,” said MBTA General Manager Dr. Beverly Scott.

The MassWIN (Massachusetts Workforce Initiative Now) program is an effort to build sustainable communities through local participation and collaborative partnerships in transportation projects focused on workforce investment, education achievement, business development and city improvement. The goals of the program are to train residents to meet the hiring requirements for local transportation and construction jobs; place trained community members in transportation and construction career paths; grow the local workforce and economic base; and support sustainable communities by expanding the local workforce, businesses and neighborhoods.

“If you want more economic opportunity for everybody, of all socioeconomic levels, there is a clear answer: Build more quality public transportation. Gov. Patrick, former Secretary Davey, Secretary DePaola and Dr. Scott know this, as do President Obama, Administrator McMillan and our partners in Washington, which is why they are making this historic investment to bring the Green Line Extension to fruition,” said Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone. “Expanding public transportation decreases transportation costs for families, lowers unemployment and increases earnings. It puts more money into the economy and creates a resilient, sustainable economy. The Green Line Extension is the backbone for a stronger Somerville, region, Commonwealth, and nation.” Added Senator Patricia Jehlen, “this is a really big deal.”

The 4.7-mile light rail extension will extend existing MBTA Green Line service from a relocated Lechmere Station in East Cambridge to Union Square in Somerville and College Avenue in Medford. The project will serve some of the region’s most densely populated areas not currently served by rail transit—where 26 percent of residents do not own or have access to cars.

“This federal grant agreement represents a giant step toward attaining environmental justice for thousands of Somerville, Cambridge, and Medford residents,” said State Representative Timothy Toomey, Jr. “The amount of work that advocates, residents, and the GLX project team have put into achieving this milestone has been remarkable, and we should be proud of this substantial investment in our public transit system.”

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