WASHINGTON, March 2--The Congressman whose district includes Harvard said today that the Bennett St. Yards of the Metropolitan Transit Authority should go to the University for the construction of a tenth house.
Rep. Thomas P. O'Neill, a Democrat, whom the eleventh district has reelected four times, told the CRIMSON that selling the land to anyone besides Harvard would "spoil the continuity of the University area."
However, O'Neill added, University officials should meet on "friendly terms" with the city to "make a respectable offer of tax revenues which the property would yield Cambridge in the future." "Harvard wants the land so badly," he noted, "that it will make a deal equitable to all."
After arriving at a satisfactory understanding with Harvard, O'Neill said the city should allow the MTA to put the land up for open bidding. "Harvard would certainly be the top bidder," he explained. The University has offered to pay $1 million above the appraised market value.
"A Political Situation"
O'Neill charged that current attempts by the city to condemn the Yards under the Urban Renewal Act was "just a political situation." It could be cleared up, he explained, when "thinking people realize that whether you call it an industry or not, education is the most important asset of our economy."
Colleges in O'Neill's district, which encompasses all of Cambridge and three wards each of Somerville and Boston, received $120 million in grants from the federal government. They employ more than twelve thousand people, O'Neill pointed out.
Heavy spending students and visitors also aid the eleventh district's economy, he said.
O'Neill said he strongly supports a House bill giving federal aid for college building construction. Although he has "curious doubts" about the wisdom of granting federal scholarships, he said he would vote for an education bill which included scholarships if it were recommended by the Senate-House conference committee.
On the Inner Belt highway, O'Neill favored using the railroad right-of-way which crosses Massachusetts Ave. near M.I.T. "This route is the most feasible regardless of expense," he contended. Opponents have charged that the cost of this route would be prohibitive.