Capuano: Feds OK with revised state plans for Green Line extension - but only if state hires project managers now

US Rep. Mike Capuano reports the Federal Transit Administration has given tentative OK to the state's plans for cheaper stations and other reductions along the proposed Green Line extension from Lechmere into Somerville and Medford - but with a caveat that has to be addressed by year's end, or $1 billion in federal money could disappear and get spent in some other state:

The FTA has directed the MBTA to hire a team of qualified professional project managers and engineers to oversee the GLX BEFORE the FTA undertakes the last and most important step in their process - the risk analysis. When the project started, there were just two MBTA employees assigned a full-time oversight role. The FTA and the MBTA both agree that was insufficient. The MBTA has done some initial outreach to hire some qualified professionals but has not done so yet.

H/t Chris Devers.



Free tagging: 


Have Them Be At Porter Inbound at 7:49 Tomorrow Morning

Have them at McGrath and Highland at 5:38 tomorrow afternoon.

You will find that there is no real downside to GLX.

Have them also stand in the middle of Freetown or Acushnet anytime and ask to we really want to prioritize rail to The Cities of Sweatpants before bring a sensible and logical extension to the urban core transit system.

C'mon Charlie - Skip a few Holiday Parties for a State Rep from Worthington or Heath and get this done.

Good News & A Challenge

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Obviously good news. But also a challenge to the T. Hiring capable managers has been slow, in part because of the low pay scale. A two-month deadline should focus their thoughts.


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This would be in-house personnel to oversee consultants (and later contractors).

Even if they did something somewhat bizarre like hire another consultant to monitor the first consultant, they would still need in-house personnel.

T Disfunction

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Breakdowns on the commuter rail and transit lines, which occur almost daily, are the most visible evidence of the T's disfunction.

But a briefing on the T's website on the administrative processes shows that it's disfunctional in that area as well.

* Different 'bargaining units' are on different payroll schedules -- some weekly
* Some people get paid by check
* Some people travel to 10 Park Plaza to collect their check in person
* There is a paper-based reconciliation process

Honestly, all of those things

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Honestly, all of those things are also true of the billion-dollar multinational private firm that I work for. One division is paid weekly, the rest biweekly. The default option is still getting paid by check. Those people paid by check still get them in person.

I don't think any of those things are unusual or dysfunctional.

How many people ride the

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How many people ride the Orange Line? We're all hoping for help! We're not riding it. It is riding us.

non sequitur

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Although the GLX would relieve the orange line of people who now connect to buses that go where the GLX goes.

Placing Bets

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I'm taking bets to see that 1 billion disappear due to them not acting on it. I can see that lovely FMCB and Baker.. who really does not want this built.. dragging their feet like everything else they've been doing lately to prevent this from happening. I can just hear it now "oops sorry money ran out so we wont fund it at the state level so the GLX dies its final death"

Just watch. Capauno may be at the fed level but it takes Charlie and his boys to push it. They won't.. just watch.

of course

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I was talking facetiously about the bet. But I do hope I'm wrong.. but Baker and his team have made it pretty clear that they don't want this thing built nor spend the money to do so. He only has continued to move ahead with this out of sheer pressure from other politicians and people. But this may be the bullet he needs kill this project finally. Like I said, the conversation will go:

"oops, the federal money ran out and we won't fill in the gap with state money so the project is dead"

It really wouldn't surprise me at all.

Bet on Hiring

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My guess is that project managers from other state agencies are transferred to the T in order to meet the hiring deadline. The prototype might be Frank DiPaola, who transferred from Highway when Scott left as GM.

Baker et al CANNOT allow $1B of federal money to go away.

$1 billion is too much money

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$1 billion is too much money to waste on such a messed up organization. I ride the T, but I give up. Give it to some other transit authority that has their act together already.

This isn't the MBTA

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This is Charlie "Slash" Baker destroying the system.

This line is needed and is easy. JFBIA!

2 Full time employees?

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Spending $2 BILLION+ and have only 2 full time employees doing oversight?

That's what happens when you

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The union ensured none of those cuts were coming from the bottom tiers, and they really can't cut any maintenance staff anymore, so it all comes from management tier where it's already hard to keep good and talented people. Plus, eliminating a 90k/year job looks a lot better on the books than a 22k/year one.

Like most dysfunctional government agencies, lots of people at the bottom going on to get on, lots of politically connected / ladder climbing jerks at the very top, and a shortage of middle-grade people who have actual work to do.

But what about refusing more money??

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What, oh what, could the MBTA possibly spend more money on? They just said they had nothing they could do if you gave them extra money. But they've constantly reduced/reconfigured/delayed this GLX project because they never had enough money!

Someone is a liar.