Yesterday, the Board of Directors at MassDOT and the MBTA Fiscal and Management Control Board (FMCB) created principles on a future finance plan for the Allston I-90 Multimodal Project. As we begin this next step, A Better City is very concerned that MassDOT attempted to establish biased guidelines and challenging rules that would effectively eliminate the Modified All At-Grade design plans. This version of the project in Allston is the only one supported by a broad coalition of elected officials, stakeholders, business leaders, and environmental organizations and it remains the best outcome for the City, region, and Commonwealth.
A Better City and other elected officials and organizations testified in opposition to MassDOT’s original language, because it required financial support from municipalities and the private sector, and applied unrelated capital costs for the MBTA onto the Modified All At-Grade design. Thankfully, members of the MassDOT board reversed course and ultimately avoided rigid mandates for the Allston funding plan.
Over the past five years, A Better City has served on the I-90 Allston project task force and we look forward to developing a realistic finance plan. It is also important that we not dismiss the significant contributions made from the private sector over the past two decades. Harvard University has already pledged $58 million towards a future West Station and MAPC pointed out in their Value Capture study that MassDOT is already benefiting from previous agreements with Harvard regarding the sale of land throughout this area. The State, City, and private sector must continue working together to keep our previous commitments for replacing the structurally deficient viaduct and creating a new network of roads, highways, and transit infrastructure that would benefit everyone for the next century.
There is new momentum with the latest transportation bond bill that provides $250 million for the next phases of the project, and also an overwhelming consensus coalition that wants to move forward with the Modified All At-Grade design. Yesterday’s debate at MassDOT does not impact this meaningful progress and we look forward to a future partnership with the Biden-Harris Administration on potential infrastructure funding for this project.