Governor Deval L. Patrick
Green Line Extension
Medford Street Bridge, Somerville
Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Thank you.  To Mayor Curtatone; Mayor McGlynn, to my partners in government who are here, Congressman Capuano, Secretary Davey, to all the neighbors and business owners who have joined us here today, folks in construction.  All of us here representing those of us here and beyond who have a stake in this project and in a vital, growing, expansive, affordable public transit system and transportation network, welcome this afternoon.  And thanks for joining us on this beautiful spring afternoon.

We are here today to confirm our commitment to extend the Green Line to Somerville’s Union Square and beyond to Medford Hillside.  It’s that simple.  Let me tell you why it’s important.   

Scores of families and young people have made the communities of Somerville, Cambridge and Medford their homes knowing that this project is on the way.  Erin and Brandon Sutton, who I met just now who are here today, purchased a condo on Dartmouth Street in 2010.  Why?  Because a Green Line stop is proposed down the street from their new home.  For them, and many like them, the Green Line extension means expanded employment opportunity, housing opportunity and recreational opportunity.  This project is about more than transportation.  It’s about opportunity.  It’s about growth.

Transportation is always about economic growth.  Not only does a reliable mass transit system take cars off the road, it helps get people to work, makes whole neighborhoods accessible and strengthens the business environment.  Like the new Assembly Square Orange Line station in Somerville, or the new intermodal transportation center in Greenfield, or one day South Coast Rail, extending the Green Line is about unlocking opportunity. 

Of course, there are naysayers.  There always are.  They say we should stop trying to extend the Green Line and stop trying to build South Coast Rail.  They want us to hunker down and wait – wait out the fiscal cliff, wait out the next budget cycle, wait me out, for that matter.  They believe like a whole lot of folks before them that if we just shrink government, cut taxes, crush unions and wait, all will be well. Even though that strategy has been disproved by history time after time after time.  They are right here right in this Commonwealth, and we have to stand up to that view.

We cannot afford to wait and let our future happen to us.  We have to be about shaping our own future.  And that future must be about opportunity.  Expanding opportunity requires growth and growth requires investment.  And investing in education, innovation and infrastructure works just like this project is a strategy that works. The naysayers are focused on short term tactics.  We need to be about long-term economic opportunity.   Extending the Green Line, building South Coast rail and projects like them are an integral part of that broader economic strategy.

I read an article I’ve talked about often, a few years ago, that compared the greatest generation to my generation, the baby boom generation.  And that article described the greatest generation the way we have often heard it described – the generation that fought and won the second World War, and then rebuilt Europe and Japan, that then came home and started great public institutions, great public universities; the federal highway system; the social safety net we so worry about today, really launched the modern civil rights movement.  And then the author described my generation, the baby boom generation, as the grasshopper generation -- because we’ve been feeding off of that all our lives.  It’s time for us to turn that around.  It’s time for us to bring that same sense of generational responsibility to our time and make the kinds of investments in time, in ideas, in creativity, and yes, money, that leave our Commonwealth stronger than we found. 

That’s what I’m about.  That’s what we have to be about working together.  And to those ends, I look forward to working with you.  Thank you very much for having me.