Rep. Michael Capuano attended the Somerville Board of Aldermen meeting Thursday night and painted a bleak picture when it comes to funding the Green Line extension into Cambridge, Somerville and Medford.
"The state has not submitted … a plan on how to fund the Green Line. They haven't submitted it because they don't have the money. People have to wake up to that fact," the congressman said.
"We've got to get realistic about this," he said, arguing that the city should push for a "short-term" solution to increasing rail access for residents.
That solution would involve extending the Green Line to the planned Washington Street station and Union Square station and then building Commuter Rail stops in other parts of Somerville. Many Commuter Rail lines run through Somerville, but none stop in the city. Whereas the entire Green Line extension is projected to cost $1 billion, "multi-modal" Commuter Rail stops cost $30 million to $50 million each, a relatively small amount, Capuano said.
The congressman suggested that holding out for the entire Green Line extension, which would include seven stops and run through the entire city all the way into Medford, could end up with Somerville getting nothing in terms of new rail access.
Asked if it's possible the Green Line extension won't get built, Capuano said, "Yes, I think it's a very real possibility."
He indicated the hefty price tag on the whole Green Line extension makes its completion unlikely. "[T]he state doesn't have a billion dollars to do it, so being right might make us feel good, but it's not going to get people out of their cars," he said.
"To me, it's not all or nothing; something is better than nothing," he said.
In regard to the so-called short-term solution—limiting the Green Line extension to Washington Street and Union Square and building Commuter Rail stops—Capuano said, "Within the next six months or so, I think you'll be hearing some different, more serious proposals on how to do just [that.]"
"It's not ready yet, but it's coming," he said.
Capuano also emphasized his desire to see something get built while Gov. Deval Patrick, a Democrat, is in office.
"We have the best opportunity with this governor to get something," he said after speaking to the board. "We should strike while the governor is in office."
He warned the city it needs to be unified behind a plan that has a chance of getting done.
"The representatives of this city have differences of opinions on this matter. Until the city gets a unified opinion, we're going to end up where we are now, which is all over the ballpark," he said.
Note: This article was originally posted Dec. 9 at 5:35 a.m.