Rep. Birmingham and William J. Walsh of Brighton submitted petitions to the legislature proposing the extension of the Boston Elevated rapid transit system to Newton along Commonwealth and Brighton Avenues and Washington St.
On Feb. 25, the Legislative Committees on Metropolitan Affairs and Street Railways held a joint hearing on the petitions, according to the Boston Globe (Feb. 25, 1925, p. A11). Testifying in favor, State Treasurer William S. Youngman said that the Newton-Brighton line experienced the most delays of any line of the Boston Elevated system. He said that increased taxation from the growing Brighton population should cover much of the expense incurred by extending the line.
Also testifying, Birmingham stated that Newton-Brighton line traffic is delayed at Governor Square, Cottage Farm Bridge, Harvard Ave., and other points along the line. Citing information from the Trustees of the Boston Elevated, he said that the Newton-Brighton line is carrying more traffic than any other line on the system. He added that it takes longer to reach Park St. from Brighton than it did 10 years ago.
Birmingham criticized the rapid transit line for “packing people into the cars worse than would be done to animals.”
Rep. Martin Hays, a Republican lawmaker also of Brighton, said that the extension was needed because of the rapid increase in Brighton’s population, but he said he would oppose any plan that resulted in a fare hike. He supported taking trolleys out of the subway and using rapid transit trains exclusively underground. He also said that putting in a terminal along Commonwealth Ave. might be a “necessary evil” but residents would rather have a straight ride to Boston.
Boston Transit Commission Chairman Col. Thomas F. Sullivan spoke against the proposal, saying it would cost $31 million to implement and would require increasing the fair to more than the current 10 cents.