Winthrop resident John Vitagliano, former transportation commissioner for the City of Boston, is speaking out on behalf of the town in relation to the proposed MBTA Blue Line-Red Line Connector project.
The project would result in a direct, underground subway extension from the Bowdoin Street or Government Center (Blue Line) subway stations to the Charles Street (Red Line) subway station (which is located near the Mass. Eye and Ear Infirmary and Massachusetts General Hospital).
Vitagliano made an appearance at a state Department of Environmental Protection meeting Monday to express his objection to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s “anticipated elimination of the original (1991) obligation to conduct a study for the Blue Line-Red Line Connector.” According to Vitagliano, that obligation was made as part of the Big Dig construction project.
Vitagliano reiterated his long-held belief that the Connector would be advantageous for Winthrop residents. Vitagliano wrote the following in a 2007 letter to state transportation officials:
“The Blue Line-Red Line Connector would finally bring a level of public transit parity to East Boston, Winthrop, and Revere and other North Shore communities by providing a direct connection to the health services and jobs at Massachusetts General Hospital, and a one-stop connection to the high tech employment opportunities in Cambridge.
“There is no question that this project would be beneficial to Winthrop residents,” said Vitagliano.
He reasons that Winthrop residents would be able to take the train at nearby Orient Heights in East Boston and travel directly on to the Red Line which has stops at Charles Street, Kendall Square, MIT, and Harvard Square in Cambridge.
“Convenience is a major issue because it would make it a lot easier for Winthrop residents to get to the MGH and Cambridge,” said Vitagliano.
He said that Speaker of the House Robert A. DeLeo and Senator Anthony Petruccelli have previously expressed their support for the Connector project.
Vitagliano said MassDOT wants to eliminate the project.
“We want to keep this project alive,” said Vitagliano. “There was a preliminary design process and we made some progress on it. We selected a transportation planner and we demonstrated that this project was a very feasible thing to do.”
Vitagliano updated the Town Council at Tuesday’s meeting about his work on the Connector project and his attendance at the DEP meeting. He said he will continue to monitor the status of the project with the town’s best interests in mind.