State Gets $44.8M in Federal Funds for Disaster Repairs

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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Western Massachusetts is getting some $44.8 million in federal funds for road and bridge repairs related to Hurrican Irene and the tornados that tore through the Springfield area.

The funds come from some $1.6 billion from the U.S. Department of Transportation being dispersed to states and territories affected by natural disasters this year.

Vermont, also hard hit by Hurricane Irene, will receive $125.6 million; North Dakota will receive $89.1 million for the Devils Lake Basin for damage caused by Spring 2011 runoff; and Iowa will receive $37.5 million to repair damage caused by the May 2011 Missouri River flooding.

June 1, 2011
Severe Thunderstorms and Tornado                          $4,002,908


Aug. 26, 2011
Hurricane Irene           $40,747,088
"Communities from coast to coast are still recovering from disasters that have affected the roads they use, their homes and businesses," said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. "The Obama administration stands ready to provide emergency relief and reimburse these communities for the work that has been done to restore their critical transportation needs."

Funding from the Federal Highway Administration's Emergency Relief Program was provided by the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2012. FHWA will provide a total of $1.58 billion to 30 states, American Samoa, U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico and federal land management agencies to reimburse them for repairs to roads and bridges caused by storms, flooding, hurricanes and other natural and catastrophic disasters.

Tags: Irene,   roadwork,   tornados,   

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Letter: Standouts to Support Public Higher Education

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

During this time in which many of our day to day activities have been affected by Covid-19, one thing has not changed: the value of our public higher education institutions. Here in Berkshire County, MCLA and Berkshire Community College continue to serve our students, many of them local residents and the majority residents of this Commonwealth. While the modalities we are using to teach, counsel, advise, and provide all types services have widened to include more online and hybrid as well as in person delivery when it can be safely done, BCC and MCLA are open to our students. We remain the most affordable and accessible institutions in the county. Together with our colleagues at the University of Massachusetts campuses, we continue to educate our citizens.

It is for these reasons that we wish to express our opinion that public higher education campuses deserve level funding at the very least. Our students deserve and should have access to the range of programs, courses, and support services of all kinds; during this pandemic, students have more needs to be met, not fewer. Public higher education has suffered through many years of underfunding. Although the work done at public institutions of higher education is often praised, such lip service doesn’t pay the salaries and other fixed costs on our campuses. Praise has never funded a scholarship or kept tuition and fees from the increases necessary when state aid is insufficient. If ever there was a time to turn praise into line items of the budget, this is that time.

Our public colleges and universities provide the workers that are needed in our communities. From nurses to teachers, from scientists to computer specialists, from professors to hospitality workers, from writers to public servants of all kinds, how many of us were educated at least in part at our public colleges? Workforce development and adult basic education also takes place on our campuses. We provide those who cannot or choose not to leave the area with quality education that is relatively affordable. Those employed by the colleges are able to invest in the community as well, buying homes, raising families, and supporting local businesses.

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