The federal government is turning on the spigot to help fund the extension of the MBTA’s Green Line to Somerville and Medford.
On Thursday, the Federal Transit Administration announced it would issue the T the first $100 million from a $1 billion award it approved in 2015. At the time, that sum was expected to cover half the project’s $2 billion cost.
Construction is expected to begin next year on the 4.7-mile light rail expansion, which will feature seven new stations out to Tufts University and is scheduled to open in late 2021.
The Green Line extension nearly collapsed in late 2015 when cost estimates spiraled to as high as $3 billion. The state fired its contractors and reworked the project to include a more simple design and a smaller price tag, of $2.3 billion. That forced the transit administration to review the new plan and the cost projections before it could provide funding.
“Governor Charlie Baker’s commitment to responsibly manage taxpayer dollars in the building of this project was persuasive,” said Elaine Chao, the Trump administration’s transportation secretary. “The region can now look forward to an enhanced transportation network as the Green Line is extended to serve tens of thousands of area residents daily.”
The federal agency had already issued a much smaller amount of money for the project.
Last month, the T hired a new contractor to design and build the project, at a cost of $1.08 billion. The remaining $1 billion-plus in expenses are for real estate purchases, new Green Line trolleys, and money spent on earlier versions of the project.Adam Vaccaro can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamtvaccaro.