August 27, 2015
Green Line Extension
News that the projected budget for the Green Line Extension (GLX) is significantly higher than anticipated was disappointing, but not exactly surprising to me. As many of you know, I have been championing the GLX for many years now, and remain a steadfast advocate. That will not change. State officials have kept my office informed about cost issues associated with the GLX and given their assurances that the project is moving forward. This is a long overdue and long promised project that will benefit currently underserved neighborhoods. I have spoken with Governor Baker as well as Transportation Secretary Pollack and will continue this dialogue.
I will keep close watch as the Administration sharpens its pencils and determines how the projected budget shortfall will be met. I will listen to any and all ideas that will keep the GLX moving forward under a reasonable timeline. The federal government has already pledged almost a billion dollars to the GLX, which will only be available if the state can fund its portion of the project. I am still confident that the state will find a way to honor this decades long commitment. It may take a little longer and the stations may have fewer bells and whistles but this weekís news is not the end of the line. Here are more of my thoughts on the GLX.
Many of you have contacted me sharing your thoughts on the Iran deal. I appreciate all the calls, emails and letters on this very important foreign policy issue and thank you for taking the time to reach out to me.
During this August District Work Period, numerous constituent groups have met with me to share their views, for and against, the agreement. I have additional meetings scheduled in the days ahead.
I continue to consider the agreement, keeping an open mind until the day of the vote in case any new information surfaces. That being said, I am leaning strongly in favor of the Iran deal.
As I explained in July on the day the agreement was announced, I have always hoped for a negotiated resolution to the threat posed by Iranís nuclear ambitions. The general outlines of the deal appear reasonable and encouraging. I am carefully reviewing the details and discussing the scientific aspects of the agreement with qualified scientists. I have never expected a perfect agreement because that is an impossible standard.
For me, the most important question is if this deal is not acceptable, then what does the United States do next? Some argue for continued sanctions but itís clear to me that Russia and China wonít go along with that. Moreover, I fear Europe would not support the U.S. in continued sanctions so we would be left with unilateral sanctions and historically these have been ineffectual. Nor do I think a military option is prudent or feasible at this time. The House is expected to vote in September.
National Parks Service
I met this month with Michael Creasey, who is the new Superintendent for the National Parks of Boston. In that capacity, he is overseeing the Boston National Historical Park, the Boston African American National Historic Site and the Boston Harbor Islands National Recreation Area. Boston is rich with history and we are fortunate to have access to such vibrant local landmarks. The National Parks Service (NPS) is putting an emphasis on urban recreational spaces and Boston is one of 10 cities that will be highlighted as the NPS prepares for its centennial celebration next year. Superintendent Creasey and I met in Charlestown, where we spoke about his vision for Bostonís National Parks. We walked around the Navy Yard, reviewing the many improvements that have been made in the last few years. We also viewed the U.S.S. Constitution which is currently in dry dock and discussed future plans for this iconic vessel. I enjoyed the opportunity to have an extended discussion about some of Bostonís most treasured sites.
It was my pleasure to join city and state officials at the grand opening of the Somerville Community Path Extension recently. This link runs from Cedar to Lowell Streets, enhancing the cyclist and pedestrian experience. As I noted during the opening celebration, the Community Path Extension is one of the projects for which I obtained federal funding, through an earmark. While Congress no longer utilizes this method of funding, projects like this one are great examples of how federal earmarks can help advance community supported initiatives.