The speeches are done, and the Green Line Extension construction has officially begun.

The speeches are done, and the Green Line Extension construction has officially begun.

The first phase of construction on the Green Line Extension is officially underway, bringing with it a promise of light rail service to and from a new Union Square station by 2017. Speaking at the event, Governor Patrick and Congressman Capuano emphasized that both sustainable growth and environmental justice require investment for the long term, a sentiment echoed by Mayors Curtatone, Davis, and McGlynn.

I was happy to see so many members of state and local government at the event, but the attendance of local home- and business owners showed what this project is all about. The last two people to speak weren’t politicians but the owners of CasaB, a restaurant in Union Square. The “B” in CasaB refers to one of the owner’s grandfathers, whose love of Latin cuisine inspires the menus of chef Alberto CabrĂ©. Alberto and his co-owner Angelina Jockovich were born in Puerto Rico and Colombia respectively, but they’ve chosen to start their business in Somerville, a decision they said was influenced by the promise of the Green Line Extension.

Alberto and Angelina, along with the tireless community leaders who made today possible, reflect the best of our community. Their speech was brief—they, and we, still have work to do.