By Seth Daniel
The Massachusetts Gaming Commission (MGC) approved a Community Mitigation Fund grant late last month of $150,000 that will help Revere and Saugus hire a transportation planner to address possible casino-related impacts on their roadways.
Revere’s grant was the only grant awarded to a shared application, that being between Revere and Saugus. However, it was one of several grants – totaling $2 million – given out to communities by the MGC on June 27 and 28.
The funds will be used by Revere and Saugus to hire a sub-regional transportation planner and pay for any expenses required for the planning efforts.
“These mitigation funds will help the City of Revere and the Town of Saugus study and implement upgrades to roadways that will be impacted by casino traffic,” said Mayor Brian Arrigo. “This will be the first of several steps I will take to improve Revere’s transportation planning capacity as our region evolves. I am grateful to the Town of Saugus for their collaboration on this effort, and to the Gaming Commission for approving our grant request.”
MGC Chair Steve Crosby said the dispersal of the fund to municipalities like Revere helps to eliminate unintended consequences that the soon-to-open casino might have on Revere.
Wynn Boston Harbor is scheduled to open in June 2019.
“The Community Mitigation Fund program underscores the Commonwealth’s commitment to not only maximizing the benefits associated with expanded gaming such as jobs and economic development, but also the Legislature’s strong mandate to mitigate any unintended consequences that potentially correlate with the arrival of casinos,” said Crosby. “This is only the beginning of our ongoing efforts in assessing impacts and maximizing the benefits of gaming.”
The Gaming Law created the Community Mitigation Fund to help entities offset costs related to the construction and operations of gaming establishments. The Gaming Law states that the Commission will issue funds to assist host and surrounding communities … “including, but not limited to, communities and water and sewer districts in the vicinity of a gaming establishment, local and regional education, transportation, infrastructure, housing, environmental issues and public safety, including the office of the county district attorney, police, fire, and emergency services.”
The Commission may also distribute funds to a governmental entity or district other than a single municipality in order to implement a mitigation measure that affects more than one community.
Under this portion of the law, the combined Revere and Saugus application was allowed.
A Community Mitigation review team conducted a comprehensive review of all applications to ensure compliance with the 2017 guidelines.