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August 24, 2008


Lee Aus;pitz

Members of the Green Line Public Advisory Committee who have toured the Boston Engine Terminal site in another capacity have reported that that the T wishes to build a new facility South of Boston to meet needs for expansion. Since they don't yet have the new site, they are reserving extra acreage of the Boston Engine Terminal site as a contingency. In other words, the real reason for trying to grab Yard 8 from Somerville is as a contingency in case a South of Boston facility is slow to come on line. Instead of making this case straightforwardly-- and developing a Plan B that would involve the BET and Yard 7 in tax-rich Cambridge-- the EOT has been hiding behind various technical and legal pretexts to assert, falsely, that Yard 8 is "the only possible site." This is the context in which to understanding the remarks you report from the City and Mr. Mackey.

The Evil MBTA

This city needs to stand up to the MBTA. First we're saddled with the commuter rail maintenance facility, despite having ZERO commuter rail stops in our city and receiving NO tax revenue from it. Then the MBTA takes years before they commit to a Green Line extension, and when they do, they keep pushing the projected finish date further and further back.

Now they want to spoil our last area for development? Our city is strapped for space and the Inner Belt is our last hope (other than Assembly Square) for real commercial development. Even the Kraft's love it! But of course, the MBTA would rather drop their 12-acre eye sore smack-dab in the middle of our final, precious slab of land. And can we deny it? No, then they'll pull the plug on our long-awaited extension!

Someone's got to stand up to them on this one. Politicians, this is why you all were elected. Save our city before it's too late...


One thing is sure. If Curtatone lets this go through, he is finished.


Unfortunately I haven't heard much in the way of viable alternatives provided by STEP and similar. Unfortunately we may have to take the good with the bad here.


One way or another, the residents of Somerville are going to be sold-out by their elected officials when it comes to the development of the Inner Belt. Either they're going to be literally "railroaded" by the MBTA or run over by construction of a playpen for "Billionaire Bob" Kraft's pro soccer team. Either project would dominate the Inner Belt, much to the detriment of more reasonably-scaled development that could take place there. Meanwhile, the "Boy Mayor" is so desperate to be seen as a major player on the local political scene that he'll agree to just about anything... so long as it occurs on his watch.


The city has been oddly quiet on this matter since it was first raised by EOT last winter at those public meetings. Even the Mayor's recent statement about the possibility of the facility being located in Inner Belt is lukewarm and noncommittal. I just don't get it.

EOT really stacked the deck in stating that the alternatives to Inner Belt it was investigating were all 2-acre, 3-acre parcels. Clearly these are not serious alternatives. There seems to be no other 11-acre plot that it is exploring. (yuppiescum do you have an alternative you would like to suggest to advocacy groups like STEP to propose? It's hard to find 11 unused acres in Somerville! And EOT is not very forthcoming on why it has to be 11 contiguous acres, why they won't consider taking some of the vast unused area in Yard 7 (BET), why they won't break up the acreage requirement to store some trains at the terminus, why the plan for BET to eventually move some of its southbound commuter trains (which don't service Somerville, btw) now stored in Somerville to a new facility south of Boston (as Lee Auspitz points out) does not factor into this decision. For a so-called public process, a lot has remained quiet.

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