$15 Million Eyed For Berkshires In State Senate Bond Bill

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The crumbling Brown Street Bridge in North Adams is set to get $1.5 million should the transportation bond make it through the House and governor intact.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The state Senate passed a transportation bill Thursday which sends $15 million to the Berkshires to improve roads, bridges and a parking garage.

The bill includes $6 million for the replacement of the parking garage between Columbus Avenue and Summer Street; $5 million for reconstruction of the Hubbard Avenue railroad overpass; $1.75 million for Thiel Road in Adams; $1.5 million for the Brown Street Bridge in North Adams and $750,000 for repairs to the bridge over the Housatonic River on Route 7 in Great Barrington.

"These important funds show our commitment to transportation across the state," said state Sen. Benjamin Downing in a prepared statement. "Transportation investment will not only keep our roads and bridges safe and reliable, but will also create jobs and promote economic development."

The bill also includes an amendment, co-sponsored by Downing, that releases up to $50 million to pay snow plow contractors for services rendered this winter. That funding was tied into a supplement budget not yet approved.

The bill also adds $1.5 billion in Chapter 90 funding statewide over the next five years. The Chapter 90 program allocated money to municipalities for road repairs.

The state's Complete Streets program also received $50 million to create a grant programs municipalities can apply for to improve all types of transportations including walking, cycling, public transportation, automobiles and freight.

The Senate and House of Representatives will now have to compromise a final draft of the bill before hitting Gov. Deval Patrick's desk for consideration.

The rest of the Senate version includes.

  •     $1.9 billion for interstate/non-interstate federal highways, which is approximately 80 percent federally reimbursable;
  •     $2.2 billion for non-federally aided roads and bridges;
  •     $125 million for the Department of Conservation and Recreation for repairs, improvements, construction of parkways and related equipment;
  •     $350 million for transportation facilities and rolling stock for improvements to facilities, urban development plans and the purchase and rehabilitation of rolling stock;
  •     $24 million for the mobility assistance program and regional intercity bus and intermodal services;
  •     $80 million for the statewide rail access program;
  •     $2.5 billion for heavy and light rail and bus projects to fund state of good repair projects, including on the Red, Orange and Green line cars;
  •     $55 million for the airport improvement program to allow for paving runways and upgrades;
  •     $63 million for Registry of Motor Vehicles modernization;
  •     $1.3 billion for Green Line extension projects;
  •     $175 million for Springfield-Worcester, Boston-Cape Cod and Pittsfield-NYC rail projects;
  •     $30 million for service improvements to the Knowledge Corridor Rail Line; and,
  •     $146.5 million for information technology at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

Tags: bonding,   bridge work,   roads,   State Senate,   transportation,   

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South County Programs, State Park Fund Secured for FY2020

LENOX, Mass. — State Rep. William "Smitty" Pignatelli says some $350,000 has been procured through his efforts in the state's 2020 budget for programs in his 4th Berkshire District, including the Berkshire Youth Development Project, Greenagers, and Community Access to the Arts.
"BYDP, CATA, and Greenagers do so much good work in the Southern Berkshires, adding real value to our communities in terms of positive youth development, environmental advocacy, and special needs integration," said Pignatelli. "I wanted to make sure we highlighted these organizations through the state budget to put an emphasis on some of the best qualities the Berkshires have to offer to our commonwealth."
Funded at $43.1 billion, H. 4000 makes major investments in education, housing, substance use disorder services, health care, and other areas while projecting a more than $476 million deposit into the Stabilization Fund – bringing the fund's balance to more than $3 billion to safeguard the future of vital programs and services.
The Berkshire Youth Development Project line item, funded to Railroad Street Youth Project (RSYP) in Great Barrington, has been a Pignatelli priority for the past several budgets, supporting the collaboration between RSYP in South County, Berkshire United Way in Pittsfield, and the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition in North Adams to prevent drug dependency and promote positive youth development for a smoother transition to adulthood.
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