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Transportation bond bill could mean $16M for Franklin County projects

  • A recent transportation bond bill that passed in the Massachusetts House of Representatives includes a potential $15 million for construction or renovation of the FRTA garage on Deerfield Street in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/MELINA BOURDEAU

  • A recent transportation bond bill that passed in the Massachusetts House of Representatives includes a potential $15 million for construction or renovation of the FRTA garage on Deerfield Street in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/MELINA BOURDEAU

  • MARK

Staff Writer
Published: 3/18/2020 2:47:37 PM

Franklin County could see $16.14 million of a proposed $18 billion transportation bond bill to do projects, including the rehab or construction of the Franklin Regional Transit Authority (FRTA) garage in Greenfield and a repair and improvement project on Yankee Road in Rowe.

The bill was passed in the Massachusetts House of Representatives, including amendments proposed by Rep. Paul Mark, D-Peru. To be passed, the bill will have to be approved in the Senate and by Gov. Charlie Baker.

The big-ticket item is a $15 million bond bill for rehabilitation of the FRTA garage on Deerfield Street or construction of a new one.

Mark said he knows the garage construction project is important and was mentioned to him by multiple people, including Greenfield Mayor Roxann Wedegartner.

“I met with Tina (Cote, head of the FRTA), who brought me to the garage,” Mark said. “They can’t expand in the current building and they need to change. It’s a big price tag, but I want to do what I can.”

FRTA Assistant Administrator Michael Perreault said the agency has been looking to have a building of its own for several years now.

“We’ve been leasing the property and the building is in serious need of repairs,” Perreault said. “We’d like to be able to own our own garage and use it for our existing fleet and employees.”

The FRTA has secured $6 million in grant funding to start the project and Perreault said the bond bill would create a facility it needs.

“If the bond bill gets passed, it will go a long way toward our vision of a space that would allow for growth, for example, if we were to move away from gas,” he said.

Perreault said the fact that Mark put the garage construction project into the amendment was important.

“We can’t count our chickens before they hatch, but if the bill goes through, it would be huge for us and Franklin County as a whole,” Perreault said. “To ensure we have a facility that meets the needs of our contractors and our employees.”

Another project is a $740,000 bond bill to be expended for repairs and improvements to Yankee Road, providing access to the Yankee Rowe Nuclear Fuel Storage Facility in Rowe.

Mark said the access road to the Yankee Rowe Nuclear Fuel Storage Facility is eroded and washed away, so the funding would repair the road.

“The little town, it’s a small town of about 350 people, and they are on the hook for the road, but there should be interest from the state in this project,” Mark said.

Additionally, a $200,000 bond bill for equipment upgrades in Colrain would allow for the purchase of a payloader.

Colrain Town Administrator Kevin Fox said the piece of equipment is “one of the major ones in the Highway Department.”

“Although we don’t know the exact cost of one, the payloader is used all year,” Fox said. “It alternates between sand and salt in the winter to gravel in the spring, summer and fall. It is a vital piece of equipment and we’re thankful for Mark’s support with it.”

Another $200,000 bond bill would allow for improvements and facilities at the ShunPike Rest Area along Route 2 in Charlemont.

Mark said he wanted to thank his fellow elected officials for their support of the amendment to the bond bill.

“There’s a lot of teamwork,” Mark said. “No one does any of this work on their own. Working together is important and leads to a good number of successes.”

Reach Melina Bourdeau at mbourdeau@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 263.




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