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Sargent Offers Transit Plans

$2 Billion Program


Governor Francis W. Sargent proposed Wednesday night a $2 billion public transportation program for the Boston area, including the extension of the Red Line subway from Harvard Sargent to the Alewife Brook Parkway.

In a televised address, Sargent announced his decision to oppose the construction of say new expressways within Rte. 128, a commuter highway which forms a semi-circle to the west of Boston. He proposed instead, "a series of (mass) transit lines from downtown Boston to Rte. 128, where the parking facilities will allow a motorist to leave his car and speed into the city."

Sargent's proposals also included regional transportation agencies, similar to Boston's MBTA, for other regions within Massachusetts; additions to Boston's subway and streetcar system; and, more tentatively, a rail link between North Station and South Station.

The extension of the Harvard Square subway line is presently being studied by the Boston Transportation Planning Review. Three possible routes are under consideration, two of which would pass under Radcliffe Yard.

Since tunneling would be by the "deep bore" method, without surface contact, noise would be negligible, according to Cambridge Planning Office officials and the engineers making the study.

Cambridge Mayor Barbara Ackerman said last night that Sargent's emphasis on mass transit was "just glorious," since "one road leads to another." She said that she favors extending the Red Line, or some alternate rapid transit route, from Harvard Square all the way to Rte. 128.

Sargent's proposals also included provisions designed to discourage the use of private automobiles during rush-hours, such as prohibiting the construction of additional parking facilities in downtown Boston and at Logan Airport.

Enactment of Sargent's proposals will require the cooperation of the state legislature. State Senate President Kevin B. Harrington of Salem opposes a moratorium on highway building. House Speaker David Bartley has refused to comment on the proposal until he has had a chance to study it.

Earlier plans for the development of Boston area transportation had called for the construction of expressways across Cambridge and Somerville out to Rte. 128. Sargent killed these plans in December 1971.

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