Top Massachusetts transportation official backs issuing permit to Wynn casino to break ground



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BOSTON — Massachusetts' top transportation official says Wynn has adequately addressed traffic and transit issues surrounding its planned $1.7 billion casino project for the Everett waterfront.

State Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack, in a Friday letter to environmental officials, said she supports issuing a key state permit to Wynn that it needs to break ground on the project.

She said Wynn's plan for transit-related improvements in the area, including a commitment to invest over $7 million into subway operations, will address short-term issues and that longer-term fixes for the notoriously congested Sullivan Square, located near the entry of the proposed casino, shouldn't hold up the permit.

"As you know, this area has been subject to extensive planning over the past decade, and the long-term issues there go well beyond those posed by the proponent's development," Pollack writes in the letter provided by environmental officials Monday. "We believe that these longer-term issues are best addressed through a regional working group."

Pollack's letter comes after Attorney General Maura Healey called on officials in a letter last week to deny Wynn's permit until a long-term plan to address Sullivan Square's traffic is finalized. Healey is opposed to casinos and also lives in a neighborhood that will be affected by Wynn's project.

Boston, Revere and Somerville, also filed letters Friday objecting to Wynn's permit application, largely on the grounds that the casino project, billed as one of the state's largest single private developments ever, will have negative consequences for the traffic-clogged region.

"No long-term planning was involved, and the proposed casino will not be phased," Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone wrote. "Rather, the casino and all of its impacts will hit quick and will hit hard."

The three cities are separately suing the state Gaming Commission over its decision to award Wynn a casino license.

Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Matthew Beaton is expected to issue a decision by Friday. The Las Vegas casino giant's environmental and traffic plan has gone through numerous revisions since it was filed in 2013 and now totals over 10,000 pages.

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