Natick Safety Improvements Excluded From Transportation Bond Bill
The $1.39 billion bill will finance improvements to the commonwealth's transportation system; an earmark for Natick is not in the final bill.
An amendment to provide at least $160,000 for safety improvements to a walk to school crossing on South Main Street is not in a $1.39 billion transportation bond bill the Senate passed this week.
The office of Sen. Richard R. Ross, R-Wrentham, announced in an email yesterday the passage of the transportation bond bill, which focuses heavily on funding various local transportation projects across the state.
An aide to Ross said the senator had filed the amendment for Natick, which Rep. David Linsky, D-Natick, had also filed. The amendment was passed by the House, but not by the Senate.
The $160,000 for Natick was slated to to make pedestrian crossings safer at the South Main and West street intersections, near Natick High.
The legislation will likely be presented to a Conference Committee to resolve differences in the House and Senate bills.
In the Senate version, funding of $1.5 million will be provided to Attleboro for a project reconstructing the Tiffany Street intersection. Norfolk will receive $3 million in funding to make the town’s MBTA station fully handicap accessible. The town will also construct a bridge over the MBTA tracks on Main Street with the state support. Funding of $900,000 was designated to various improvements at Chestnut and Elm streets and Chestnut Street and Route 1 in North Attleboro. The funding will go toward sidewalk and intersection reconstruction, as well as drainage improvements and road restoration. Finally, more than $4 million was awarded to Wellesley for drainage system improvements along Route 9 adjacent to Boulder Brook and Morse’s Pond.
Amendments providing funding for projects in Sherborn and Millis were also not included in the final bill.
“This funding is essential for cities and towns across the commonwealth to implement the improvements and repairs needed to provide residents with a safe and reliable infrastructure,” Ross said in a press release.
The Republican Caucus put forth several amendments to the bill addressing policy issues. Two amendments were not passed: one that would prohibit DOT from including personnel costs in its capital budget, rather than its operating budget; and another that would require the DOT to analyze surplus funds in any accounts and include such information in its annual expenditure and revenue reports. Such surplus funds were recently used to settle the MBTA’s budget deficits.
Ross said he was disappointed that these amendments were not passed by the Senate.
The Senate approved an amendment proposing a commission evaluating the use of project labor agreements (PLAs) and their financial impacts on the commonwealth.