The Encore Boston Harbor Casino in Everett is finally open, and people are still concerned about how the new casino will affect traffic in and around the city. WGBH Morning Edition Host Joe Mathieu spoke with Everett Mayor Carlo DeMaria about traffic and the opportunities the casino presents for the Greater Boston area. The transcript below has been edited for clarity.
Mayor Carlo DeMaria: A lot of our residents struggle to work two or three jobs. Now [maybe having] this job here with good benefits and being all union employees working inside the facility, hopefully they don't have to work as many hours. I'm hoping a lot of them walk to work if they can I'll just take the shuttle down. It's an exciting [and] surreal time. It hasn't really hit me yet.
Joe Mathieu: A lot of people are talking about traffic and I know you have a lot to say about that. We got jammed up getting over here on the bridge. I'm assuming that's going to be part of life for a little while. How do you deal with that now and what does it look like a year from now?
DeMaria: You think about the Boston Garden, Fenway Park and Foxboro Stadium. When they have an event, you know to get there by using the Green Line if you're go to Fenway. Think about people who go to Foxboro. They park three miles away and they walk to the game. Traffic has always been a problem in and around Boston. Boston was built for horses and buggies. We were one of the first original cities in the country. Our infrastructure is old, but we have a governor and the mayor of Boston and others who want to really rebuild the T system.
We need to provide reliable transportation systems for people to move masses of people into Boston and out [in] a timely manner, not all squished into like a crammed buses or trains, and we need to really get serious. This problem has been everyone's issue. And we need to [get everyone] together and start thinking on the box about transportation. You have the Tobin bridge down one lane [and] people are cutting through Everett. Everett has always been a cut-through city. We did our studies prior to this.
During the week, Monday through Friday, the resort is not going to impact traffic. So people who are going to school or work in the morning, this resort will not impact them. No employees are allowed to park here. They have to take the shuttles in from Wellington and Sullivan. I have had residents in Everett complain about traffic, and unfortunately people are always going to find something to complain about, but you're talking about development that's going generate close to $40,000,000. And this is the first building in a whole wave of a bunch of buildings. The scrap yards and used car lots – they're going to be gone. There are going to be other hotels [and] other restaurants providing more jobs, more taxes for the city [and] cleaning up environmental sites. For the first time in the last three years, since they started cleaning up the site, we got an "A" rating to swim in the water out front of this facility. I mean, you and I would not even dare to think about jumping into this water out front. Now you can technically swim without getting sick or anything. That's unbelievable.