- The Federal Transit Administration has given its official approval for the scaled-down $2.3 billion Green Line light-rail extension project in Boston, according to The Boston Globe.
- The FTA withheld its authorization for a $1 billion grant when the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority halted work on the rail project after a contractor shakeup and a $1 billion budget overrun. Since then, the MBTA has redesigned the project, reduced costs and hired a new project manager.
- The project must still secure additional federal approvals, and, despite the Trump administration's proposed 2018 budget, which eliminates the FTA program giving the grant, Green Line officials said they are confident they will secure necessary funding.
President Donald Trump's proposed budget for 2018 cuts FTA capital investment program cash for any project that doesn't already have a full-funding agreement in hand. While the Green Line falls into that category, the light-rail extension would most likely receive funding because it appears on a list of high-priority transportation projects assembled by Trump staffers.
While remaining optimistic about the future of the Green Line, the MBTA announced that the project would not open until 2021, four years past the original completion date.
Before the MBTA stopped work on the project and fired all the lead contractors, the costs of the rail reached an estimated $642 million per mile, which would have made it the most expensive MBTA project ever. Some critics blamed cost overruns and delays on the original contract delivery method, but outside consultants indicated that MBTA mismanagement played a big role in the Green Line's problems.
The MBTA has switched the project to a design-build contract method and hired a new manager with extensive transit experience. All of these changes were part of the FTA's demand that the MBTA demonstrate the project was on the right track.