Officials broke ground on the Green Line Extension project on Monday in Somerville, marking a long-awaited start to the transportation plan that will extend the Green Line into Somerville and Medford.
The project has received more federal funding, as well, with U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao announcing $225 million in federal support for the initiative.
Chao was present at the groundbreaking, along with Gov. Charlie Baker, MBTA General Manager Luis Manuel Ramírez and other state and local officials, which was held at the future site of Somerville’s Union Square Station.
“I swore publicly that I would never come to another groundbreaking of the Green Line because I had already been to three,” U.S. Rep. Michael Capuano, also a former mayor of Somerville, told reporters at the event. “Today is different because this one is real. It’s been a long time coming.”
Current Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone was there for the groundbreaking as well, noting that with this construction “finally underway, the transportation, environmental, and economic benefits the completed Green Line Extension will bring to our communities are within our reach,” he said in a statement.
The $225 million for the initiative marks the release of the second installment of federal funding for the Green Line Extension. The Federal Transit Administration signed a $996 million Full Funding Grant Agreement with the MBTA for the rail line extension in Jan. 2015.
Somerville and Cambridge are committing funds to the Green Line Extension, as well. In total, the project will cost about $2.3 billion.
The Green Line Extension project will extend the rail line 4.7 miles on two branches. It includes the construction of seven new stations, the replacement or rehabilitation of eight bridges and a new pedestrian and bike path. Once completed, it’s expected to carry about 40,000 new transit trips a day, connecting Somerville and Medford (and Tufts University) to downtown Boston.
“The Green Line Extension will improve access to education, housing and job opportunities across the entire MTBA system,” Baker said in a statement. “Our administration is grateful for the collaboration and support we have received from Secretary Chao and all partners at the federal, state and local level to reach this milestone and begin a project that will have a transformational impact on this region of the Commonwealth by accommodating riders and spurring economic growth.”