BOSTON-Despite the criticisms of Governor Jane M. Swift’s recent legislation to create a public trust to oversee the Surface Artery land–the 30 acres that will be exposed in the heart of the city once the Big Dig puts the highway underground–city officials tell that they agree with the basic premise of the bill.

“The city has played a major role in developing and addressing this legislation,” Meredith Baumann, spokesperson for the Boston Redevelopment Authority, tells “We believe that the legislation fundamentally reflects the Central Artery task force goals on a number of levels.”

Baumann specifies that those fundamentals include the governing body that the Massachusetts Millennium Greenway Trust creates is what the city wanted to see. She says that the city also agrees with the funding of the maintenance and upkeep of the Surface Artery through a special tax on the “betterment district”–businesses on the artery or within a quarter mile of it–as well as the creation of the garden under glass with the Horticultural Society. “We are watching closely,” adds Baumann, “We will wait and see what happens but we hope this process moves quickly.”

The bill is currently before the Joint Transportation Committee and it appears that a quick outcome is a possibility, but it’s a tough call. The legislature’s session adjourns at the end of the month and according to a spokesperson of Representative Joseph Sullivan, co-chairman of the joint transportation committee, there is “some refinement that needs to be done for the bill.” She emphasizes that at the first hearing of the bill yesterday there was criticism as well as a show of support for the bill. “The overarching goal is to put some entity that will care for the parcel in place,” she says. The sticking points are about the appointments to the board of trustees of the trust and the funding aspects of the bill.

Sullivan’s representative says that there is a great deal of support to get this bill to the floor before the end of the month because otherwise it will get pushed off to the first of the next year. Because this is an election year, there will be no formal sessions in the legislature until then.

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