McGee, Cowdell downplay fact ports pact does not include Lynn

May 1, 2012
By Chris Stevens/The Daily Item

Gov. Deval Patrick and Lt. Gov. Timothy Murray signed on to a Ports of Massachusetts Compact Monday that includes Salem, Gloucester, Boston, Fall River and New Bedford, but not Lynn.

"They are the historic deep water ports," said state Sen. Thomas McGee. "But this is the first step to a much larger focus on waterfront activity. It doesn't mean Lynn is left out of the mix."

McGee as Chairman of the state's Joint Committee on Transportation, also signed the pact. He noted that dozens of waterfront communities from Quincy to Plymouth had also been left out of the compact but not the big picture.

"We have a seat at this table," agreed Economic Development and Industrial Corporation Executive Director James Cowdell. "The mayors who signed it all sit on the Seaport Advisory Council."

Cowdell said Lynn is indirectly part of the compact because it is already working on a plan to do what the compact sets out. According to a prepared release from Patrick's office, the compact is an agreement designed to boost economic development and capitalize on resources in the commonwealth's seaports.

"Basically it's saying that it's working on economic potential, which we're already doing," Cowdell said.

Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MDOT) spokesman Cyndi Roy said Lynn is not on the list of signatories only because it does not have commercial fishing or freight industries. The release states that the compact's initial to-do list includes tackling fishing regulations, coastal shipping trends and recommending a plan for seaport coordination, which McGee said are issues for the five deep water ports. However, listed under other compact goals is "moving people and goods safely, securely and more efficiently through the five ports," which could impact Lynn, which is in the midst of establishing a commuter ferry.

Roy said Lynn could likely be added to the compact in the future if the desire is there. Noting that McGee is a big supporter of the Lynn waterfront project and the ferry, she said, "Sen. McGee could certainly advocate for the ferry, I'm sure that would be a hot button topic."

"We were at the meeting when they voted this," Cowdell said. "The Lt. Governor has been here to support our waterfront projects. We definitely have a seat at this table."

Chris Stevens can be reached at

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