Boston mayoral candidates John R. Connolly and Martin J. Walsh have sharply criticized the Boston Redevelopment Authority during the campaign, saying it must be reformed or dismantled to make development more accountable to residents and businesses.
But no matter who takes office in January, it will be difficult and time-consuming to turn the tough talk into action . Some say it may also be unwise to make radical changes in the midst of what has become a historic surge in development.
Gleaming office towers and large residential developments are under construction from downtown to East Boston to Dudley Square, and every one of those projects needed BRA approval. But critics often accuse the enormously powerful authority of operating behind closed doors and ignoring outside voices.
Connolly and Walsh have said the BRA must be overhauled to make it more transparent, and that they know how to do it. In the years before the campaign, they both frequently appeared before the BRA board to support a wide array of major development projects that promised jobs, neighborhood improvements, and economic growth.
Fiscal watchdogs and others say a major restructuring of the authority could halt such activity, depriving the city of tens of millions of dollars in annual tax revenue to pay for things like schools, public safety programs, and transportation improvements.
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