The Massachusetts Port Authority has a new and important ally in its quest to add roughly 5,000 parking spaces at Logan Airport.
The agency has reached an agreement with the Conservation Law Foundation that would set the stage for more environmentally friendly travel options in and out of the airport area. In return, CLF won’t fight Massport’s request of state environmental regulators to amend a parking freeze that limits the number of spaces at the airport.
The Logan garages are frequently at or near capacity. Massport wants to address that problem by spending $250 million for both a new garage on the lot next to Terminal E and an expansion of the Economy garage near the airport’s entrance.
With CLF on board, Massport is on the hook for public transit improvements. Massport will double the number of Silver Line buses that connect Logan with South Station, and increase the capacity of its Logan Express shuttles by 10 percent by the end of 2019. The agreement will also bring more electric-vehicle charging stations to the garages. It will prompt most, if not all, of the ground-service vehicles at Logan to be replaced with electric-powered ones over the next decade. Taxi and Uber drivers will also get priority in line if they show up in electric cars.
CLF wasn’t the only critic. There is a contingent of East Boston residentswho are upset about more cars streaming through their neighborhood. But winning over CLF, with its small army of lawyers, represents a major victory for Massport.