Legal battles over public projects must be put to a stop

Is there anything more infuriating than pointless obstructionism? Medford resident Bill Wood is doing just that, along with neighbor Carolyn Rosen. According to the Boston Globe, a lawsuit against the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, along with other agencies and select officials, was filed by the duo.

The claim is that the state failed to properly study the negative environmental impact of the Green Line Extension Project from its current terminus in Lechmere, through Somerville, and up to Tufts University in Medford. The best part is that the two filing the suit live on the other side of Medford from the project and should have no concerns. However, that hasn’t stopped Mr. Wood from trying to stand in the way of the project for years and go so far as to hog up speaking time at community meetings.

Whatever the true motive may be, the plaintiffs should realize that the project would merely be delayed by their actions, no matter the result of further environmental studies. Ultimately, a project – which Somerville has been demanding for more than half a century – will be further delayed and the taxpayers will foot the bill for the state’s legal fees and any further studies.

Unfortunately, such cases are routine for just about any project, with seemingly no sane motives. In Westminster, a particularly vocal resident has filed suit against the MBTA for extending the Fitchburg Line. The MBTA has ignored pleas from the resident and the town management, citing legal precedent for their right to construct a one-stop extension of the line.

However, opposition remains fierce, with the hopes that the project will be halted and ultimately overturned. While there is little chance that this will happen, one has to wonder what makes someone put the time and effort into these legal battles.

I would hope that anyone who buys a property near railroad tracks – even abandoned tracks – realizes the railroad has been there long before they moved in. In addition, they should expect all of the noises and ill effects associated with being adjacent to railroad property. I’m sure it would be a different story if I lived next door to their house and then filed a suit that I disliked the times at which they come and go from their house.

It is up to the property owner to acknowledge their investment in the property comes with risks. This goes doubly when there is historical precedent. The Green Line extension, paralleling the Lowell Line, will not mark the first time there was a four-track-wide right of way carving through Somerville and Medford. Mr. Wood, et al: spare the public from the obstructionism and bloated project costs and realize that your property rights concern just that: your property, and your property only.

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