It’s time to complete the Arborway Yard

March 18, 2011
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The following letter was sent to MBTA General Manager Richard Davey:

We are writing once again to express our strongest possible support for the Arborway Yard Transit Facility, and our deep concern that the Draft Capital Investment Program FY 2012-2016 does not include funding for the construction of this critically needed transit facility. As elected city and state officials, we have worked closely with the Community Planning Committee for the Arborway Yard for many years in advocating for this transit facility.

We have articulated to you in the past our reasons for supporting this facility, but we feel compelled to restate those reasons given the pending vote on the CIP at the MBTA’s April meeting.

First, the design of the facility has been virtually completed and the project is now “shovel-ready.” Thus, the time is now to proceed with the actual construction of the facility.

Second, the MBTA already has invested approximately $30 million into the Arborway Yard site, including costs for planning and design of the new permanent facility and the design and construction of a temporary maintenance facility.

Third, the temporary facility was designed to serve the MBTA’s needs for approximately five years. We are now into its seventh year of operation and there are serious concerns we share with the community that this “temporary” facility could become “permanent” with negative impact on both the community and the MBTA’s ability to adequately house and maintain its bus fleet.

Fourth, design of the proposed facility is exemplary in terms of environmental and safety features and will serve the long-term needs of the MBTA, its ridership, its employees and the adjacent community. As you know, this design is the result of literally thousands of hours of volunteer time on the part of community residents working with MBTA staff, architects, City of Boston experts and others.

Fifth, the community benefits agreement between the MBTA and the City of Boston guarantees that 8 acres of land will be turned over to the City of Boston for a model of transit-oriented development, including new affordable housing, small businesses and additional green space. The Boston Redevelopment Authority conducted an extensive community planning process for the use of this land that will result in a model urban neighborhood that is walkable, livable, and has great access to transit.

As elected officials facing many of the same financial and budgetary pressures you face in managing the MBTA, we very much appreciate the difficult choices you must make in a period of limited resources. However, given the 12 years of planning and associated funding that have gone into the completed design, the broader economic and job creation benefits that will be leveraged through this model of transit-oriented development, and the MBTA’s need to adequately house and service its bus fleet, we feel that further delays in the construction of this project would be short-sighted and would represent a broken promise to the City and the neighborhoods we represent. We strongly urge you to include the approximately $200 million in the final Capital Investment Program for FY2012-2016.

Mayor Thomas Menino, Boston
State Sen. Sonia Chang-Díaz, Jamaica Plain
State Rep. Elizabeth Malia, Jamaica Plain
State Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez, Jamaica Plain
City Council President Stephen Murphy, Boston
City Councilor Felix Arroyo, Jamaica Plain
City Councilor Matt O’Malley, Jamaica Plain

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