Bus facility must be funded

The letter excerpted here was sent to MBTA General Manager Richard Davey and signed by the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council; Asticou/Martinwood/South Street Neighborhood Association; West Roxbury Courthouse Neighborhood Association; Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Development Corporation; Urban Edge development corporation; Stonybrook Neighborhood Association; City Life/Vida Urbana; Washington Street Business Association; Jamaica Hills Association; Jamaica Pond Association; Franklin Park Coalition; Arborway Coalition; Hyde Square Task Force; Southern Jamaica Plain Community Health Center; and Brookside Community Health Center:

The undersigned…organizations are writing to express our strongest possible support for the Arborway Yard Transit Facility. Over the past 12 years, under the leadership of the Community Planning Committee for the Arborway Yard, and with the support of Mayor Thomas Menino and our elected local and state officials, the Arborway Yard Transit Facility and its related community benefits have been a high priority for the City of Boston and our community.

We believe it is imperative that the MBTA renew now its commitment to the completion of this transit facility by including funding for it in the 2012-2016 Capital Investment Program. Indeed, we are sorely disappointed that it is not in the current draft CIP…

The design of the facility is expected to be completed in spring 2011. It therefore will be “shovel ready” by the next iteration of the CIP in April 2011 when the MBTA board will meet to approve the 2012-2016 CIP. The timing could therefore not be better to reinsert the Arborway Yard Transit Facility into the CIP.

The MBTA already has invested approximately $30 million into the Arborway Yard site, including costs for…the permanent facility and the design and construction of a temporary maintenance facility. Further, this temporary facility was designed to serve the MBTA’s needs for approximately five years. We are past that time already!

The new facility, as designed, is exemplary in terms of environmental and safety features and will serve the long-term needs of the MBTA, its ridership and the adjacent community. As you are very much aware, 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.

The community benefits agreement between the MBTA and the City of Boston is the result of years of difficult and challenging work over many years that engaged neighborhood residents, businesses, non-profits, elected officials and others. When the facility is completed, 8 acres of land will be turned over to the City of Boston to accommodate affordable housing, new small businesses, and new open and green space. The Boston Redevelopment Authority conducted an extensive community planning process for the use of this land and the possibilities are exciting and necessary for the community, city and the Commonwealth. Indeed, this is an exciting example of transit-oriented development, which is a high priority for the city and the state.

We very much appreciate the difficult choices you must make in a period of limited resources. However, we believe any further delays in the construction of this project beyond 2011 would undermine and threaten to undo the work and commitment made by hundreds of community residents over the past 12 years. We stand with the CPCAY, the mayor and our elected officials in insisting that you do the right thing for the MBTA, the state, the City of Boston and our community: Include the approximately $220 million in the CIP that is needed to construct the facility!

Henry Allen
Chairperson, Community Planning Committee for the Arborway Yard
Jamaica Plain

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