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Warren campaigns on transportation promise

ITEM PHOTO BY JIM WILSON
City Councilor Peter Capano listens as Newton Mayor Setti Warren hold a news conference at the ferry terminal. 

By THOMAS GRILLO

LYNN — With the harbor as a backdrop Friday, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Setti Warren promised to revitalize the city by reinstating ferry service and extending the Blue Line.

“There’s no reason why we can’t put ferry service back to Lynn,” he said. “It ran for two summers until it was cut. We need to restore it so people can get in and out of the city and expand transportation.”

The 46-year-old Newton mayor is one of three Democrats seeking the nomination for next year’s primary. Environmentalist Robert K. Massie and former Gov. Deval Patrick administration budget chief Jay Gonzalez are also in the race to unseat Gov. Charlie Baker, recently named the country’s most popular governor in a nationwide poll.

The ferry from the Blossom Street Ferry Terminal in Lynn to Boston’s Seaport operated a pilot program in 2014 and 2015. But the service was decommissioned last summer by the Baker administration, which argued it didn’t generate enough riders to justify the $700,000 in state funds annually to operate it.

On the long awaited 4.5 mile Blue Line extension from Wonderland Station in Revere into Lynn, Warren said it’s a project that’s time has come.

“The Blue Line extension has been under discussion for more than four decades and we’ve got to make sure it happens,” he said. “When the transit line is extended, that will expand Lynn’s economy. A few miles away in Boston, there are cranes on the city’s skyline and we need to make sure that spreads to Lynn.”

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While Warren did not put a price tag on the projects which studies say could exceed $1 billion, the mayor said the cost to not do them is far greater.  

“I don’t know how much they will cost, but what’s the cost if we don’t do it?” he said. “The cost of not doing it is the loss of access to high-paying jobs, not getting cars off the highway and more congestion because that’s what’s happening right now.”

To pay for these and other transportation projects, Warren is not shy about calling for new taxes and closing loopholes in the state’s tax code.

Warren said if elected governor, he will examine $12 billion in state tax credits that are lost to the treasury. In addition, he favors the so-called millionaire’s tax.  If approved by voters next year, the proposal would amend the state constitution by imposing a 4 percent surtax on incomes over $1 million. It would raise nearly $2 billion annually and the money would be designated for schools and transportation.

Warren spoke at a sparsely attended news conference in the ferry parking lot terminal on the Blossom Street Extension. City Councilors Peter Capano and Jay Walsh happened to be at the site, scouting locations for summer concerts.

“This is a big part of fixing Lynn and getting things up and connecting people to our waterfront,” said Walsh.


Thomas Grillo can be reached at tgrillo@itemlive.com.

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