By way of Elana Schor, we read that the MBTA’s Silver Line extension proposal, which would be a “one mile tunnel connection between the existing Silver Line/Washington Street Service (Phase I) and the existing Silver Line/Waterfront Service (Phase II)”, is in trouble. According to the Department of Transportation (pdf), the MBTA’s proposal isn’t measuring up in the following areas: local financial commitment rating, capital plan rating, and the operating plan rating (these are all funding issues).
The extension would be a good thing, and integrate underserved parts of the city (particularly South Boston) into the subway system. It’s also $1.7 billion, and, if you haven’t noticed, there’s a depression* on, so you might not want to leave $1.7 billion–which would be thousands of jobs–on the table. If MBTA doesn’t get this, people need to be fired.
Having said that, there seems to be something a little odd (italics mine):
Interestingly, the three transit projects that have yet to reach a Medium rating got subpar evaluations of their local governments’ financial contributions even though their proposed federal share of capital costs was comparable to the those for successful transit projects in Minneapolis and Denver. (Boston’s preferred federal share stands at 60 percent, Sacramento’s at 50 percent and Miami’s at 47 percent.)
Part of me wonders if this is ‘Big Dig’ blowback. Regardless, our Congressional delegation, including our new senator (and, for once, Senator Kerry might want to do some good constituent service), need to start plugging away for this, especially since it doesn’t appear to be financially worse than other cities’ proposals.
Letting a good proposal die would be political malpractice.
*It’s a depression, since the issue is crappy debt, not a cyclical or shock-based downturn.