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Winslow calls for halt to MBTA expansion

December 2, 2011

In light of recent reports that a casino developer is looking to build a casino in Foxborough directly next to the South Walpole border, State Representative Dan Winslow (R-Norfolk), who represents the area, sent a strongly-worded letter to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation today demanding that the MBTA expansion project through Walpole to the potential casino site be halted. (I say “be halted” because actually crews have already begun surveying the tracks from what I understand, and it seems clear that the expansion project, as it were, has already begun.)

The letter is here (pdf.)

Highlights from the letter:

“In the circumstances as we now know them, I am writing to request that no public funds or resources (including personnel) be expended in support of rail expansion or upgrades to Foxboro from Boston/Walpole, Worcester or Providence.”

“It is critically important that all commuter rail work and planning associated with expansion to Foxboro cease to allow such impacts to be considered in accordance with the new gaming statute. Failure to do so will be tantamount to an end-run around the jurisdiction of the Gaming Commission.”

” I ask that all negotiations with CSX regarding rail bed use rights be suspended until the impacts of the proposed casino project can be fully considered. lf a casino in fact is slated for development at Foxboro, the value of rail rights currently held by CSX will be far more valuable than is currently the case – Attempting to negotiate those rights now, at current values, will expose the Commonwealth to a claim of bad faith and unfair dealing in the contracts given the actual knowledge of persons in the Executìve branch of government.”

“In my view, not one thin dime of limited public money should be spent for the private benefit of billionaires in a private transaction.”

Last night, Selectmen also agreed to send strongly-worded letters about the issue to Governor Deval Patrick and Mirick O’Connell, the firm pushing for the expansion for the spring.

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