NEW BEDFORD — The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has a history of lawsuits brought against them for unfair compensation, according to New Bedford City Solicitor Eric Jaikes.

Jaikes commented on a report from the Boston Globe that New Bedford officials have drafted a lawsuit against the MBTA claiming that land the transit agency took by eminent domain for the South Coast Rail project was undervalued.

The solicitor noted in a statement to WBSM News that four property owners — including two in New Bedford — have already brought lawsuits against the agency alleging unfair compensation for land seized.

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"Last year, a New Bedford Superior Court jury found in one of the lawsuits that the MBTA had failed to fairly compensate the owner of a Church Street property, and awarded additional damages," Jaikes stated.

One lawsuit was settled out of court, and two of the others are still pending, according to the solicitor.

As part of the project, the transit agency seized land near the Whale's Tooth parking lot that belonged to the city of New Bedford.

The parking lot is set to become the terminal train station for the New Bedford branch of the South Coast Rail, which is still slated to begin operations later this year.

"The Mitchell Administration has long advocated for the South Coast Rail Project and remains unwavering in its support for it," Jaikes stated.

"Like the other property owners, the Administration believes the taxpayers of New Bedford should be fairly compensated for city land taken by the MBTA. We are hopeful that ongoing discussions with the MBTA concerning the city land ultimately will secure their interests."

The Globe reports that the draft lawsuit sent to the MBTA alleges the land was taken to begin work on the project before the city became part of the transit authority zone.

The T also allegedly paid a fraction of what the city spent to clean up the land for redevelopment, according to the Globe.

New Bedford voters approved joining the MBTA last November.

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