Green Line Costs Creep Closer to $1 Billion

A Green Line Train at Cleveland Circle.  Photo by Alexander Svirsky.A Green Line Train at Cleveland Circle. Photo by Alexander Svirsky.

– Allison Goldsberry

According to a state transportation official, the extension of the Green Line to Medford and Somerville could cost more than $1 billion.

The state project manager for the Green Line extension, Kate Fichter, told theTufts Daily the once $600 million project is now estimated to cost $934 billion. And that’s just for six planned stops. The seventh, a stop at Route 16, could cost another $130 million, pushing the total cost of the project over $1 billion.

Fichter said the $600 million figure was “very preliminary” and has been around for several years. She attributed the higher costs to a more “comprehensive picture of expenses,” including added expense for making each station handicapped accessible.

“The original [$600 million] number, which has been out there for five or six years, was generated from a very preliminary planning study,” Fichter told the Daily.

Fichter also said the project is still slated to be completed through College Avenue by 2014, and a second phase adding a stop at Route 16 should be completed between 2016 and 2020. According to Fichter, federal funds have been “identified” to extend the Green Line to Route 16.

Ken Krause, a Green Line Project Advisory Group member, expressed concern with completing the project in two phases and said it would be disruptive to the neighborhood to undergo two construction projects back to back. He also said a second phase would increase the costs.

“It’s of concern, because by doing it in a second phase, it would cost $50 million more due to inflation and other added costs,” Krause told the Daily.

The Route 16 stop has always been contingent upon the receipt of federal funds. The EOT said when it files its environmental impact report, it include an analysis of the entire project, including Route 16, so they will not need to seek additional environmental approval in the future.

After the environmental impact report is filed, the Federal Transit Administration will hold a public hearing and an extended public comment period will be held so people will have an opportunity to review the report and make comments.

The report will be available on the project’s webpage,, at public libraries in the project area, and will also be available on CD-ROM upon request.

The environmental impact report was supposed to be filed in August and is more than seven months late.

Two potential Green Line stations are proposed for Medford in addition to the Route 16 stop. One station is planned for the intersection of College and Boston Avenues and the other planned for Ball Square on the Medford side of Broadway.

Public support for the Route 16 stop is high, according to a recent survey conducted by the Medford Green Line Neighborhood Alliance (MGNA), a volunteer group of citizens that supports the extension of the Green Line to Medford.  The group says a petition signed by more than 2,400 people and demographic data support a Route 16 stop, and the stop would put nearly 10,000 more people in Medford, Somerville, and Arlington within a ten minute walk of the Green Line.

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