By Tom Nash
The Green Line extension project will not be appearing in time for the federally mandated 2014 deadline, according to a report discussed by the state's Department of Transportation last Friday.
Transportation Secretary Jeffrey Mullan has reportedly said the project would be delayed until at least October 2015 as a result of the two-year battle over a plan to place a maintenance facility next to Somerville's Brickbottom artists community.
Somerville had originally sued the state for the Green Line extension as mitigation for the pollution caused by the Big Dig project. While Mayor Jospeh Curtatone had earlier said he would sue if there were a delay, he said Sunday that the 10-months added time was a fair trade-off for getting the state to move the maintence facility onto a site in Cambridge known as Option L.
"The state is still moving forward, and work is being done," Curtatone said. "We've seen that the Yard 8 location was unacceptable. A 10-month delay on the completion of the project [allows for the change]."
Ellin Reisner, a representative for the Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership, said the new time frame for the project doesn't come as a surprise for the group.
"[The delay] is going to be a problem for everybody," Reisner said. "We're not happy about this. But I don't think it's surprising. Things have been going much more slowly than they should have."
The process of fighting the proposed maintenance facility began in 2008, and concluded in May when the state announced it would go with an alternative plan proposed by the City of Somerville.
Reisner rejected Mullan's assertion that the back and forth on the maintenance facility site was the main cause of the slow progress.
"We were very clear early on in the process that we had a problem with the location," she said. "The DOT really stonewalled about it and were completely unwilling to look at an alternative in a serious way until (they prepared) the Draft Environmental Impact Report."
"The community is being blamed for the delay," Reisner added, "but I think it's the state that has been slow."
Magoun Square advocate Joe Lynch said he was not shocked by news that his neighborhood would have to wait longer for a Green Line stop on Lowell Street.
"Whenever you make major changes to what the planners are saying, specifically the maintenance facility, that major change cost them time and money," Lynch said. "It's what the community wanted, and that one action has now given the state a reason to delay the project."
"I'm very disappointed," Lynch added, "but not surprised."