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Here’s where the MBTA’s Red-Blue Connector stands

Touted by transit advocates, the Red-Blue Connector has idled for decades. Now, new funding aims to inch the long-awaited project forward.

A rendering of the MBTA's expanded Charles/MGH station, with escalators and stairs descending to an underground Blue Line platform. MBTA

With the Green Line Extension now up and running — for the time being, at least — the MBTA is setting its sights on another long-awaited rapid transit expansion: A connection between the Red and Blue lines. 

Approved earlier this summer, the MBTA’s most recent five-year capital investment plan (CIP) inches the long-awaited Red-Blue Connector forward by injecting $15 million in new funding for planning and design.

Here’s what to know.

A refresher on the Red-Blue Connector

The Red-Blue Connector would bridge the two subway lines by tunneling below Cambridge Street and extending the Blue Line from its current end at Bowdoin Station to the Red Line’s Charles/MGH Station. 


Right now, the Red and Blue lines are the only MBTA subway lines that don’t directly connect; to get between Bowdoin and Charles/MGH, riders face a 9-minute walk between stations or clunky transfers through either the Green or Orange line.

The Red-Blue Connector:

The connector will boost access for residents of environmental justice communities along the Red and Blue lines and connect the population with jobs and services at major hubs like Logan Airport, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Kendall Square, according to public transportation advocacy group TransitMatters.

“Under-appreciated is how this project will decongest other downtown transfer stations,” TransitMatters Executive Director Jarred Johnson wrote last month on X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter. 

“The number and location of stops and stations are important, but so, too, is connectivity,” TransitMatters board member and former state Secretary of Transportation Jim Aloisi wrote in Commonwealth magazine in 2015. 

He added: “Most people do not have the luck or luxury to have purely linear origins and destinations. Reflecting that reality, transit routes need to be aligned in ways that enable convenient and seamless movements through the transit system.”

The concept of connecting the Red and Blue lines has been tossed around since at least the early 1970s, according to the MBTA. For decades, however, the project has waited on the back burner.


There’s been some progress in recent years, though, as the MBTA produced renderings for its preliminary designs and included the connector as one of the projects it aims to finish by 2040.

MBTA officials estimated in 2021 that the project would cost $850 million when all is said and done, though a T spokesperson told Boston.com that the transit agency will have an updated cost estimate next year.

“If we don’t act soon, we are going to miss out on the opportunity to build that project affordably,” Johnson told The Boston Globe in April. 

What’s new?

The MBTA’s fiscal 2024-28 capital investment plan includes about $30 million toward planning and bringing the Red-Blue Connector to 30% design. The figure includes $4 million in new CIP funding, as well as $11 million in funding from the state’s fiscal 2024 budget

Gov. Maura Healey notably expressed her support for the project during her campaign in 2022 and included funding for the Red-Blue Connector in her fiscal 2024 budget proposal.

When can we expect it?

It will be at least a few years before T riders can expect to travel seamlessly from the Red Line to the Blue Line. 

In 2021, T officials presented a timeline that would have construction on the tunnel begin toward the end of 2025 and wrap up by 2030.


Last year, the MBTA entered into a $13 million contract with engineering firm AECOM to support the project’s preliminary engineering and environmental review phase, according to a T spokesperson. 

“Work on this phase of the project is ongoing, including continued coordination with Mass General Hospital and other stakeholders, and completion of state and federal environmental review by the end of 2024/beginning of 2025,” the spokesperson said.

As it stands, the increased planning and design funding in the CIP is an early step in the process.

As Aloisi said in a July Commonwealth magazine op-ed, “Now comes the real test of the T’s commitment to these initiatives, and we can test whether we are being ‘yessed to death,’ or whether there is a genuine commitment to making modernization and connectivity happen.”


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