Gov. Charlie Baker is putting expansion plans on hold for the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center.
Baker said Tuesday is pausing expansion of the center so that the new members of the authority that oversees the facility, which he also announced Wednesday, could “conduct a thoughtful analysis and determine how these resources can best benefit our economy, job creation, and the development of Boston’s Seaport District.”
“The environment has changed greatly in the five years since this proposal was first introduced, and the Seaport district has experienced an economic boom,” said Baker. “Plunging ahead now, when the data on the expansion’s feasibility is mixed, combined with the change of leadership at the MCCA would be irresponsible given the vast amounts of taxpayer dollars necessary to not only build but operate the expanded facility in the face of pressing financial needs outside of the booming Seaport District.
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State House News Service reports that the Legislature in 2014 approved legislation signed by Gov. Deval Patrick authorizing the Convention Center Authority to borrow up to $1 billion to finance the BCEC expansion. The debt, reports the service, was to be paid through the existing convention center fund, which receives a mix of tourism and hospitality fees and taxes.