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By Daniel Niepow, Associate Editor
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation's board and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority's (MBTA) fiscal control board yesterday approved a scaled-down version of the Green Line light-rail extension project.
Under a new proposal presented to the boards Monday, the cost of building the 4.3-mile extension has been reduced to $2.3 billion, compared with project's previous $3 billion price tag. The proposal calls for downsizing station amenities while retaining basic functions such as providing access for people with disabilities.The earlier design for each of the seven stations on the extension included escalators, elevators, personnel rooms, toilets, drop-off locations, canopies and equipment rooms. The interim project management team overseeing the project found those elements to be "well beyond" what's normally found on light-rail systems, officials said.The project management team also reduced the size of the extension's vehicle maintenance facility from 94,000 square feet to 55,000 square feet. The resized facility has four service tracks and the capacity to store 44 vehicles outside.Additionally, the team recommended modifying five existing rail bridges instead of replacing them. Following the state boards' approval, the new plan will be reviewed by the Federal Transit Administration. In December 2015, the boards created the multidisciplinary project management team to redesign the project following significant cost overruns.
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