Transportation Bond Bill to Fund Several Western Mass. Projects
Massachusetts Deval Patrick signed a 1-point-5 billion dollar transportation bond bill Friday. The bonds will finance a wide variety of infrastructure projects across the state, including dozens in Western Massachusetts. New England Public Radio's Adam Frenier reports.
The bill will assist in paying for various projects from road and bridge repair to drainage improvements and the construction of bIcycle paths. State Representative Steve Kulik of Worthington helped to negotiate the compromise bill between the House and Senate. He says funding for these projects in Western Massachusetts is long overdue.
"During the years of the Big Dig in Boston, our region and other parts of the state really were shorthanded in terms of getting their fair share of money. So now that we have the opportunity, to invest over the next several years in local projects, this will be a boon for our economy as well as fixing a lot of our long-neglected infrastructure".
The measure dedicates more than 70 million dollars for Western Massachusetts projects . Kulik says the next step will be to determine which projects should be of the highest priority and funded first.
"It's up to us as individual legislators representing our regions to advocate for those projects and work with the administration to make them high priority. This is a multi-year bond bill, so the money will be spent over a period of three or four years, perhaps even a little bit longer because we do have a bond cap for our capital spending so it all can't be done in the same year".
Among the projects receiving funding in Western Massachusetts are three related to the north-south passenger rail project, including design work for stations in Springfield and Northampton and construction of a rail platform in Holyoke. For New England Public Radio, I'm Adam Frenier.