By John Lynds
When Massport first began meeting with the neighborhood during a series of community meetings to begin discussing Logan’s Terminal E expansion project, many in the neighborhood became alarmed and confused over how the process would play out.
Some residents perceived the project as further Logan Airport expansion that would cause further health impacts in the neighborhood and wanted the process slowed down.
Rep. Adrian Madaro and City Councilor Sal LaMattina met with Massport and lobbied the Port Authority to form a Logan Impact Advisory Group (IAG) so that stake holders in the community could have a comprehensive planning process and begin discussing mitigation.
“This was an unprecedented planning process that brought the East Boston community to the table and really takes a good look at what types of mitigation should be attached to this huge airport project,” said Madaro. “We brought the heads of the neighborhood’s community groups, non-profits, businesses, the city and several agencies to begin discussing what was important for the neighborhood going forward. The mitigation agreed upon between the community and Massport is reflective of the hard work the IAG did over the course of six meetings.”
According to Madaro, Massport has agreed to provide permanent funding to the East Boston Foundation in the amount of $500,000. This number could be adjusted based on inflation. The Foundation’s funding was set to expire by 2020, ending two decades of support to community non-profits.
Massport has also agreed to $18 to $19 million to construct the long awaited Piers Park Phase II. This project has been designed and the community has waited nearly two decades for a shovel to be put in the ground. The park will be the mirror image of the award winning adjacent Piers Park on Marginal Street.
Massport has agreed to provide $180,000 for an operating budget for a future senior center. The money will be used to operate and provide programming for a seniors center that will be built by the City of Boston.
Massport will provide an additional 100 homes with soundproofing.
There will also be a direct connection to the Silver Line via the Blue Line at Logan’s MBTA station.
Massport will increase Logan Express seats by 10 to 15 percent to curb the amount of vehicular traffic coming and going to the airport. The Port Authority will also raise the parking fee rates to encourage more use of public transportation.
Eastie will also get a percentage of a ‘car tax’ that will be imposed of vehicles that park at Logan.
“Massport will also fund Hubway Stations in East Boston as well as take part in dialogue with the community on helping to bring a permanent water ferry to the neighborhood,” said Madaro.
LaMattina said he was impressed by the whole process.
“Adrian and I worked to form this group and the outcome has been very positive,” said LaMattina. “We hope to continue this IAG and meet a few times a year to sit down and work on East Boston issues.”
Massport CEO Thomas Glynn added, “We have had six productive meetings. The proposals are better now than they were when we started. The key will be when we have the chance to engage the community in a community meeting. This approach was suggested by the elected officials.”
Massport will host a public meeting on the Environmental Assessment/Draft Environmental Impact Report (EA/DEIR) for the Terminal E Modernization Project on Wednesday, August 10 at the Mario Umana Academy at 6 p.m.
The EA/DEIR was submitted to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the Mass Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs on July 15, 2016, in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA).
Massport is proposing to modernize the existing international terminal (Terminal E) and improve supporting services, to accommodate current and forecasted international passenger demand.