Money Watchers: I-195 commission has yet to take control of land

Questions still surround the land and time frame through which the I-195 Redevelopment District Commission can take control of land opened up by moving the highway and start developing it.

Colin Kane, the commission's chairman, said Tuesday that the state Department of Transportation still owns the property and has owned it since the early 1950s. The commission wants to take title to the property by summer.

"DOT is obligated under federal statute because federal funds were utilized for the construction of the original highway as well as the relocation of the new highway to sell the property at fair market value," Kane said.

The commission will be required to pay full market value.

"Some may wonder why would a state entity buy state property from another state entity? Well one, we have to satisfy the feds, relative to their statute," Kane said.

And No. 2, there are built in costs in regards to reconnecting roadways, sewers and electrical service.

Kane said work could begin this year.

"There are a number of details we are working through with DOT relative to the completion of this bond transaction. But the goal would be by early summer we start. Even if we placed the bonds in the fall and taken title, we could not have started construction because of the frozen ground," Kane said.

But wasn't that the goal to begin in the fall?

"Our goal is to move as quickly as we can, regardless," Kane said.