South Coast Rail shouldn’t be delayed by impending lawsuit, New Bedford officials say

NEW BEDFORD, Mass. (WLNE) — During Mayor Jon Mitchell’s State of the City Address Wednesday, he told residents that the long-awaited South Coast Rail should not be delayed by the city’s potential lawsuit against the city.

City officials anticipate the two city stations could be online by this December.

The Boston Globe reports that a complaint drafted by the city argues that the land for the project shouldn’t have been seized because New Bedford was not yet part of MBTA’s service district. The city also says that they never received fair compensation for the land.

“the state took 10 acres of land, and gave the city $400,000 in change,” said Mitchell. “10 acres of land with direct access to freight rail in the busiest commercial fishing port in the United States. So it’s fair to say the land is worth a lot more than that.”

Four other lawsuits have been filed by city landowners against the MBTA.

City council vice president Ian Abreu hopes this final hurdle doesn’t delay the city’s future asset.

We’ve been disproportionately affected by not having the commuter rail,” said Abreu. “I don’t want to see any hang up in that process as this plays out. That is important to me. We need to make sure that South Coast Rail comes on time, slated as supposedly coming by the end of this year.”

State Representative Antonio Cabral added, “Let’s stay focused. Let’s keep the MBTA’s feet to the fire to make sure they comply with what they said that they would — be here by the end of 2023.”

No lawsuit has been filed, and city officials hope this can be resolved without a third party.

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