The Federal Transit Administration has released the first $100 million of $996 million in promised grant funds to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority for its 4.7-mile light rail project that will build a Green Line Extension (GLX) from Cambridge to Medford.
"Governor Charlie Baker's commitment to responsibly manage taxpayer dollars in the building of this project was persuasive," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao. She said the Boston area "can now look forward to an enhanced transportation network as the Green Line is extended to serve tens of thousands of area residents daily."
The FTA and the Boston transit agency signed a full-funding grant agreement in 2015 to help fund the project. The MBTA is overseen by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the state's Fiscal and Management Control Board.
MassDOT Secretary Stephanie Pollack said news of the federal grant release "is the latest positive turn for an important project that was under construction in 2012 but which was buried by cost overruns two years ago."
She said the state had "hit the pause button, addressed the cost overruns, led the effort to redesign the project to meet the affordability limit, worked with stakeholders including officials with the Federal Transit Administration and took other structural steps necessary to give the project new life."
The FTA said it was providing the funds after the MBTA "completed a series of reviews to redesign the GLX project to contain costs without sacrificing schedule," and the state strengthened the MBTA's project management team and governance structure.
It also said the project adheres to the scope and benefits identified in the grant accord, with six new light rail stations, replacement or rehabilitation of eight bridges and a new pedestrian/bike path. The MBTA said the new line segment is projected to open for passenger service in 2021.
Photo from FTA's press release.