Boston Green Line extension moving ahead, though MBTA deficit looms
Despite an impending $160 million hole in this year’s budget, the Boston-area transit agency MBTA is moving forward with a $1 billlion project to improve and extend its iconic Green Line. That project won’t add to the agency’s debt, an agency spokesperson told the Boston Globe, because the funds are coming from state and federal sources. When finished, the Green Line light rail line will be extended roughly five miles from its current terminus in Cambridge to West Medford. The extention will bring 7 new stations and better service to a corridor that is presently served by an infrequent commuter rail service.
New BART cars spark outrage over cost and outsourcing — but at least BART’s getting more bike lockers!
In previous transit roundups, we’ve highlighted renderings of the sleek new trains that Bay Area Rapid Transit plans to buy to replace its aging fleet of cars, many of which date to the systems opening in the 1970s. But there’s a major downside to replacing old with new in this case. You see, many key features of the BART system were designed to non-standard specifications. Most significantly, decision-makers early on elected to use tracks that have a 5’6″ gauge (the distance between the rails) instead of the 4’8.5″ “standard gauge” used in most of North America and Europe.
Thus, not only will the new BART cars have to be built custom from scratch, but the machines that make them will need to be made from scratch too — which is unsurprisingly expensive. So much so that the Huffington Post reports that bids from prospective manufactures are coming it at four times what New York Metro paid for its latest trains.
Not all the transit news in the Bay Area is a bummer, however. BART announced via its official blog that the agency has installed over 300 new electronic bike lockers at 19 stations, roughly doubled their number system-wide.