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Green Line Extension Gets Early Green Light for Federal Funding

Preliminary approval has been given for a federal grant, but it still has a ways to go.

If all goes according to plan, the federal government will pick up half of the estimated $1.3 billion Green Line Extension project, according the MassDOT.

The project has received preliminary funding for funding from the "New Starts" program through the Federal Transit Administration, according to announcement from the state's transit department Thursday.

But the funds aren't guaranteed -- the project still needs to compete with other public transit project around the country. And the program is competitive. It's expected to dole out nearly $2 billion to projects in fiscal 2013 alone.

"The Green Line Extension project must reach and clear three additional obstacles - approval by FTA for entry into Final Design and then approval for Construction, followed by the execution of a Full Funding Grant Agreement - before the MBTA can secure federal participation in the costs of the project," according to the announcement.

Along with the funding news, the FTA gave the green line project a "Finding of No Significant Impact," relative to the environmental, mobility, economic development, and community-building of the project, according to the annoucement.

The project, projected to be completed by 2020, will extend the MBTA's green line from its current terminal station in Cambridge through Somerville to a final stop in Medford, adding seven new stops. It is being built as result of a settlement made by the state over environmental impacts of Boston's Big Dig tunnel project.

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