Mayor Dan Rizzo has called for the MBTA to stop in its tracks on a land sale to Wynn Resorts – a crucial sale of land that will allow the proposed casino to create an access road on Everett-only land and to avoid troubles with Boston.
Rizzo listed five specific reasons why the MBTA should stop the process, which was announced in public advertisements a little over one month ago.
“The public record concerning this sale indicates that Wynn has not completed the necessary work to evaluate the impacts, the MBTA and MassDOT have reached no conclusion as to the proposal’s impact on transit and rail operations, there has been a woeful lack of public discussion about the sale of valuable public property, public officials and communities interested in expanded rail service to the North Shore have not had an opportunity to review how this sale may impact future service in the region, and the MBTA appears to be violating its own procurement statue,” read the letter.
The letter was sent to the state Department of Transportation (DOT) on Oct. 2, and made public on Oct. 9.
A spokesman for the MBTA said they have received the letter and are reviewing it.
“MassDOT has received the mayor’s letter, and we are reviewing the questions [Mayor Rizzo] has raised,” said MBTA Spokesman Joe Pesaturo. “MassDOT and the MBTA will be providing the (Revere) mayor’s office with a response.”
The MTBA advertised the potential land sale in early September, noting it had received an offer of $6 million from Wynn Resorts for certain parcels of land in and around the MBTA Maintenance Facility on Lower Broadway Everett (Rt. 99). Since that time, the state-mandated process has been underway, with the MBTA soliciting higher and better offers.
Rizzo’s particular concern revolves around what he contends is a plan not only to sell part of the maintenance facility, but also part of the commuter rail right-of-way.
He said one of his major concerns is that there has been no study of how this sale will affect future commuter rail expansion. Revere has long been lobbying for a new commuter rail station at Wonderland Dog Track, which is on the same line – the Newburyport/Rockport line.
“This is of particular concern for me given the need for additional rail service to the North Shore, including the City of Revere, and MassDOT’s proposals to add diesel multiple units on certain lines, including the Newburyport/Rockport line,” he wrote.
Finally, Mayor Rizzo criticized the MBTA for not following its own processes in public procurement. He said the MBTA has shown favoritism in allowing Wynn Resorts the first crack at buying the land.
“It seems to me this procedure is not only inconsistent with [the law], but it also treats Wynn as if it has some sort of property interest in the MBTA’s property, such as a Right of First Offer,” Rizzo wrote. “The MBTA has also demanded payment of 25 percent of the proposed purchase price in case at the time of the submission of the bid…This up front payment requirement will certainly dissuade competing bids, making a sham of the entire procurement process.”
The letter also references Everett public safety officials requesting two means of entrance into the casino site, while the land sale would allow only one entrance.
The Wynn access road via the MBTA land is a vital piece of the project that avoids having to use Horizon Way further down Broadway. Horizon Way shares a city line with Boston via a tiny piece of property that extends northward to that street. Last year, Boston had fought the use of the road and indicated it wanted to be a host community if Wynn used Horizon Way. However, the Gaming Commission threw that out and Wynn had indicated it planned to work out a solution with the MBTA for access via Everett-only land.