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Wynn proposes subsidizing subway as it seeks key state environmental approval for casino

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BOSTON — Wynn Resorts is proposing lending a hand to Boston's creaky transit system.

The Las Vegas casino giant wants to pay the state transit authority more than $7 million over 15 years to make improvements to the Orange Line subway that will pass near the Everett property Wynn wants to develop into a $1.7 billion waterfront resort casino.

The state Department of Transportation and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority said in a joint statement Friday that the payments will allow for increased subway service during peak times and help the aged system absorb additional riders from the casino development.

The agencies said it would be the first time a private developer subsidized the cost of Boston's subway operations. Private dollars have been used in the past to finance subway-related projects.

Wynn's $7.36 million proposal comes on top of some $76 million in spending on local traffic improvements the company has already committed to as part of its casino license agreement.

Robert DeSalvio, president of Wynn Everett, said the new transit money will benefit a number of rapidly developing areas including Boston's Sullivan Square, Somerville's Assembly Square and Medford's Wellington Circle.

"The more trains we add, the more people will use public transportation for work and play, all while lowering the number of cars on the street," he said.

Wynn's proposal calls for paying the MBTA $410,188 in 2018 with a 2.5 percent increase every year thereafter for 15 years.

Details of the proposal are included in its latest environmental filing with the state as it seeks a critical environmental approval to break ground on the project. The over 1,000-page filing was submitted July 15 and came in response to an April 3 letter by Matthew Beaton, Massachusetts secretary of energy and environmental affairs.

The secretary, among other things, had sought from Wynn a specific dollar amount to compensate for an expected increase in subway ridership because of its casino.

To date, the company has filed over 10,000 pages with the state related to its plans to mitigate the traffic and environmental impacts to the greater Boston area. Beaton's office has until the end of August to approve Wynn's environmental and traffic mitigation plans.

The project is located directly across the Mystic River from Boston and is the state's largest approved casino project. It hopes to open by 2018.

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