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BOSTON-After nine months of haggling over who should control the 30 acres of open space that will be created in the heart of the city here once the Big Dig is finished, the Surface Artery Commission called for a government commission to be established to oversee the valuable parcel. The commission recommended that the Massachusetts Turnpike Authority, the state, the city and the business community fund the agency.

The Authority controls the $14.2 billion massive highway project. “Basically, what they want to do is create an independent body comprised of all interested parties,” a source close to the commission tells GlobeSt.com. “It is politically safe to have an independent group so the process is not misinterpreted. Also, this way, everyone can take credit and no one will be blamed.”

The surface artery has been the focus of heated debates as the state, the city and the Authority have been arguing over who owns the land and who is responsible for its maintenance. The city insists that it should control the parcel while the state contends that it paid for the land as part of the Big Dig.

Other contentious issues, such as what to put on the exposed artery, were not even addressed in the recommendations. “Everyone seems to have a committee but nothing is moving along,” notes the source. Also not mentioned in the report is who should appoint members to the board of directors of the new agency and how to share financial responsibility. The source adds that this could be a significant organization that would have a real impact on the ultimate completion of this piece of property.

The report did indicate that legislators should hold public hearings this fall after they come up with new legislation. Reportedly, the cost of the artery’s parks and public spaces is about $60 million, although that amount could rise if various proposals are accepted.

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