State Transportation Committee Chair Crighton Visits Berkshire County
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,