BOSTON (State House News Service) — Once stuck in planning purgatory and now under construction amid a global pandemic, the Green Line Extension is more than halfway built.
Gov. Charlie Baker and several of his top deputies touted the success so far of a "transformational project" after touring work Thursday on the brand-new Lechmere Station in Cambridge that will anchor the $2.3 billion rail expansion.
Passenger service is set to begin by the end of 2021, offering seven more stops north of the Green Line's current endpoint at Lechmere that will reshape the T's map and bring train service to Somerville and Medford neighborhoods that are currently only accessible by bus.
Before the project, about 20 percent of Somerville residents lived within a quarter-mile of a public transportation stop, Baker said. The extension will increase that rate to 80 percent.
"The GLX project will have a major impact on the region by improving access to virtually everything in one of the most congested parts of the eastern seaboard," Baker said at a press conference. "It will increase access to education, housing and job opportunities across our public transportation system."
Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack praised the effort to keep the project on track after years of stuttered progress and uncertainty about whether the extension would come to fruition. She also said the MBTA has made strides in its ability to complete capital projects, reaching $1.5 billion in capital spending last year.
"This project represents not only an investment in transit, but an investment in greater Boston and the community it serves," she said.
By Chris Lisinski, State House News Service
(Photo: Mario Jarjour/WBZ NewsRadio)