Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino proved his commitment to Boston's proposed convention center recently when he helped break a legislative stalemate by agreeing to contribute $157.8 million of city funds for the acquisition and cleaning of the center's South Boston site. As a result, after years of political controversy, the convention center bill finally passed the Massachusetts House with a large majority. The Senate then passed its version of the bill. The legislature is expected to reconcile the two versions this fall,deciding, among other issues, how much to raise the room tax.

"This is great news for Boston's visitor industry," says Patrick B. Moscaritolo, president and CEO, Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau. There could be a ceremonial groundbreaking before the end of the year, he adds. The projected opening date is late 2002 or 2003.