Top state lawmakers reached a deal on a widespread transportation overhaul yesterday; that plan is expected to be voted on by the Senate and House later today.
According to text of the Act, the proposal has a couple of key Worcester implications.
Most notably, Worcester Regional Airport is scheduled to be transferred from city ownership to MassPort on July 1st, 2010, should the bill pass this week. That transfer is contingent on the city getting “fair compensation;” that compensation “may consider the actual amount of any expenditures, subsidies and operational costs assumed or provided to date…by…Massachusetts Port Authority, in addition to to any other federal and state funding and grant assistance.” The actual “right, title and interest” would be handed over within a year after July 1, 2010.
That language lays a strong groundwork for the state to refrain from giving much actual cash to the City of Worcester.
What would MassPort get in exchange? Ownership, operation, and maintenance of the airport would be solely in their hands, “except as otherwise agreed to by the parties.” Except for existing contracts and liabilities, that’s a relatively final determination of control.
The bill, which would also eliminate the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, creates an advisory board for MassPort. By law, that advisory board would include one voting representative from Worcester, as well as from 22 other cities and towns. Boston would get 7 votes, divided specifically among several neighborhoods.
So there you have it: A very possible end date for city ownership of the Worcester Regional Airport.
Let us know what you think: Good? Bad? Not enough from the state in exchange?