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Green Line delay protest today in Somerville

Posted by Matt Byrne  October 20, 2011 10:04 AM

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Residents from four communities today are expected to hold a mock-groundbreaking and demonstration for the Green Line extension outside Somerville High School, ahead of a meeting for the public to discuss an environmental study of the project.

A new delay was announced in August that projects trolley service on the extension to begin no sooner than 2018 and as late as 2020.

The demonstration, scheduled for 6 p.m. tonight,  is co-sponsored by 11 community groups from Somerville, Medford, Cambridge, and Arlington, including the Somerville Transportation Equity Partnership and Groundwork Somerville, and will simulate a groundbreaking for the line.

Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone, longtime Green Line supporter, is expected to attend the demonstration.

The hearing to follow, at 6:30 p.m. in the high school's auditorium, is sponsored by the state Department of Transportation, and will give the public a chance to vocalize reaction to an environmental assessment report submitted to the federal transportation authority. The report is a required part of the state's application for federal funding for the extension.

The demonstration is the latest reaction to the announced delay that enraged both residents and elected officials, many of whom have advocated for the transit project for more than a decade.

Following the announced delay, officials and activists began a two-pronged lobbying effort that gained the attention of Governor Deval Patrick and Transportation Secretary Richard Davey, who met privately with a delegation of lawmakers in September.

There they discussed a phased approach to building the extension, which has been held up by land acquisition problems along the line, officials said.

That outreach effort included an online petition sponsored by Curtatone that quickly garnered thousands of supporters.


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