Rain or snow, the Postal Service always delivers. But not this time.
The state wants to take over the post office’s Fort Point Channel property to make way for a $1 billion expansion of South Station, which sits next door. The federal agency won’t budge, saying the state isn’t offering a rich enough deal for a site in one of the country’s hottest neighborhoods.
How far apart are they? Try $100 million.
The two sides have been talking on and off for a decade — you read that right, more than 10 years. Of late, negotiations have intensified, reaching the highest level of the agency with a meeting involving Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe, US Representative Stephen Lynch, the state’s transportation secretary, Rich Davey, and Massport chief Tom Glynn.
It’s become a classic standoff between two bureaucracies, turning political gridlock into real gridlock, with the losers being all of us stuck waiting on a train platform. What hangs in the balance is more convenience and less stress for thousands of travelers daily. An expanded South Station would usher in a new era of public transit in Massachusetts. Imagine: more commuter rail, more Acelas, even true high-speed trains.
“We have offered so many solutions to the problem,” said Davey. “The time is now to make this happen. All the interests are aligned. At the end of the day, we’re all trying to serve the people of Massachusetts.”
The state is fast losing patience, fearing the Postal Service is trying to run out the clock on the Patrick administration.
Davey has offered to build the post office a new processing facility a mile away in the Seaport District, close to Logan Airport and with easy access to interstates 90 and 93. To sweeten the deal, he threw in a 1,000-car garage for postal workers.
When that didn’t work, he came back with a new proposal, thinking cash must be king to an agency that has lost $46 billion in recent years. The Postal Service, if you can believe it, said “No thank you” to $350 million. Who knew the Commonwealth had this much money just lying around?