Controversy Develops Over Road Veto Power

Controversy has broken out in Cambridge over the proposed Inner Belt roadway, particularly the provisions of the 1961 Act giving nine Massachusetts cities and towns power to veto any construction planned under the multi-million dollar Federal Highway Program.

By a vote of eight to one, the City Council yesterday joined Councillor Andrew T. Trodden in a resolution opposing any attempts to repeal the veto power. Senate Bill #103, which will be discussed this afternoon by the Senate Committee on Highways, makes such an attempt.

Trodden charged that the proposed Inner Belt highgway will cut through Cambridge, "driving out many families and many thousands of tax dollars." "Although the City Council has suggested many alternative routes to the Hiighway Commission," Trodden said, "the plans have all fallen on deaf ears."

"The Council's opposition to the Belt Route must be heard," Trodden asserted, "and the veto power is the only means of doing it."

In voting against Trodden's resolution, G. d'Andelot Belin, one of the Council's three new members, stressed that he "does not want the Council to be recorded in favor of the present Belt route," but asserted that "the Commonwealth's highway system should not be hindered by municipality veto."

Local veto power, Belin maintained, will cause "absolute chaos" in the State and "seriously hinder" the road program. "If every city and town in Massachusetts had veto power," Belin said, "highway construction would be impossible."

Belin Opposes Veto Clause

Belin's opposition to the veto clause, which states specifically that "no money shall be expended under the Act without the consent of the City Councils of all the municipalities involved," has also been supported by the Cambridge Citizens' Advisory Committee.

The Committee, appointed by the Mayor of Cambridge in 1956 to advise the City Council, is made up of leading citizens in the community.

In a letter to the Senate Committee on Highways, the citizens' group maintains that "to permit each city through which a proposed highway is to pass to exercise a veto on the route or planning of such a highway must, in our judgement, be a deterrent to rational future development."