Eastie residents have legitimate concerns, but as usual Massport responds with sweet talk. The project's draft environmental impact report, from June 2008, includes comments submitted from the public, and in a smart and detailed letter, former state secretary of transportation Fred Salvucci laid out some of the neighborhood's objections. After noting the specifics, Salvucci writes that:
The long history of unfulfilled environmental commitments should be reviewed and redressed by [the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act office] as a prior condition to any processing of the Massport proposal. The relationship between Massport and the adjacent community over the past two decades is littered with unfulfilled commitments, a "bait and switch" pattern of commitments that disappear once Massport gets approval to proceed with terminals, runways, or taxiways, at which point the environmental commitments are never fulfilled.After listing seven specific broken promises, Salvucci writes:
This behavior pattern makes a mockery of the Environmental Process and can be redressed only by insisting that Massport deliver on prior commitments, prior to being allowed to proceed with any new projects. The non-urgent (and possibly not even useful or desirable) $450 million Southwest Service area proposal is the right place for MEPA to draw a firm line and force Massport to dramatically change its behavior.Salvucci hits a key point that many newcomers to East Boston or people unfamiliar with the decades-long struggle aren't aware of: Massport lies, and it does so with impunity. Before any big new projects move forward, the agency's pattern of abandoning its promises should be reviewed, after which Massport should be made to live up to its word. Only then can there be discussion of the Logan Airport's future, and the people who live around the airport -- not just those who stand to profit from it -- should have a larger voice in such matters.
I call on Jim Aloisi, the state secretary of transportation, to step in and to hold Massport accountable. He grew up on Chelsea Street in Eastie and is well aware of the history. He has the power to intervene on this matter and to prevent the further trampling of the rights of local residents.