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State Sen. Brendan Crighton, left, co-chair of the state's Joint Committee on Transportation, discusses the condition of the deteriorating Howland Avenue portion of Route 8 with state Reps. Paul Mark and John Barrett III.

State Transportation Committee Chair Crighton Visits Berkshire County

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff
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ADAMS, Mass. — State Sen. Brendan Crighton, co- chair of the state's Joint Committee on Transportation, visited the county on Friday to learn about transportation inefficiencies in the region. 

 

"I've read about a lot of the challenges on the committee just as a legislator, but again, just seeing is believing," he said at a stop with lawmakers at the Bounti-Fare, where the recently paved state highway ends and the pothole-ridden Howland Avenue begins.  

 

Crighton explored transportation options Adams, Lenox, North Adams and Pittsfield with the help of state Sen. Adam Hinds, senate candidate and state Rep. Paul Mark and state Rep. John Barrett III. He also met with North Adams Mayor Jennifer Macksey to discuss infrastructure needs in the city.

 

The Baker-Polito administration has made $200 million in Chapter 90 funding available for transportation and infrastructure in FY2023, which Crighton hopes can help the Berkshires. 

 

"We did the $200 million for Chapter 90, then we added on a bunch of grant programs and stuff that hopefully have an impact out here," Crighton said.

 

Mark said showing the chairman issues in person and discussing them as the group went throughout the county was helpful.

 

"We made sure he saw, this morning in Lenox, rural transit options, ideas on micro-transit, trying to get the smaller towns hooked into hubs and figure out a new system because we've been lacking that," Mark said. "I really appreciate he spent time at the BRTA to understand how bus service is different out here ... And then really great to see him see firsthand some of the road projects."

 

Balancing the transportation needs of the entire state is difficult, Crighton said. The Lynn Democrat said municipalities often struggle to keep up with the cost of maintaining transportation systems, including as roads and bridges. 

 

"It's a very expensive problem to solve," he said. "Which is hard. It means having hard conversations ... Transportation shouldn't be on their lap. It needs to be a statewide system. And it needs to be funded in an equitable way." 

 

Hinds said bringing legislators to Berkshire County is a great way to help them understand the issues residents in the area face. 

 

"I think it's an important sign that Representative Mark is already engaging with senators and bringing them here because that is how we get things done. It has to be an across-the-state collaboration," he said. 

 

Mark said he hopes to get others to visit the western part of the state. 

 

"As we move forward, into the next session, that's going to be a key element of what I want to do in the Senate, is making sure that we're paying attention to the rest of state, but they have their eyes on us," he said.

 

Crighton said he was thankful to be able to visit and see the transportation problems in Berkshire County, noting it was the first time they had left the Greater Boston area. He said the county's representatives work hard to have their issues heard in Boston. 

 

"They're always advocating," he said. "They grab you on transportation issues; they're always pushing for their districts. But it's nice to see it in person."


Tags: Chapter 90,   infrastructure improvements,   state officials,   

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Adams' Valley Street Shed Still Needs Funding

By Brian RhodesiBerkshires Staff

ADAMS, Mass. — Construction of the new shed at Valley Street Field may be delayed due to a lack of funding. 

 

Mike Benson of the Adams/Cheshire Little League attended Monday's Parks Commission meeting and said the league is still working on obtaining funds for the shed. The town appropriated $3,000 for the shed as part of the fiscal 2023 budget and asked the league to match. 

 

"I've done a ton of fundraising this year to try to keep the costs low for the kids," Benson said, noting he could probably contribute about half of the $3,000 needed right now.

 

The league, Benson said, is in the process of ordering a new scoreboard for the field, one similar to the one recently installed at Russell Field. He said financing the scoreboard came first, as it was in the works before planning for the new shed began. 

 

"We had started the scoreboard thing before we heard anything about the shed," he said. "... We haven't asked the town for anything to do to help with the scoreboard. We're doing it all on our own, it's $3,500." 

 

Mark Pizani, an equipment operator at DPW, said they would likely be able to get more time out of the old shed if the league needs more time for funding. Benson said he would happily work with the town to clean the shed. 

 

"We can work it out with what we have. If we need another year out of it, it's really not a big deal," Pizani said. "That's my personal feeling. It would have been nice to have." 

 

Commission Chair James Fassell agreed the current shed can keep being used and said the group will revisit the issue in the future. 

 

"I just want to make sure it's for the good of the league and for the good of Adams," he said. 

 

In other business, Pizani updated the board on a berm near Russell Field, which the group was concerned could overflow onto the field. He said a significant amount of brush and debris was removed from the water since the last meeting, making an overflow less likely. 

 

"We cleaned that whole river out," he said. "We cleaned it out; it's in good shape. We took truckloads of debris and stuff out of the river." 

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