Building on his call for renewed investments in transportation and education in this month's State of the Commonwealth address, Governor Deval Patrick today joined Senator Stephen Brewer to highlight the Administration's investments in Barre as a key component of a plan to grow jobs and expand economic opportunity.
"Opportunity is too important to leave to chance, but opportunity requires growth and growth requires investment," said Governor Patrick. "In Barre and in every corner of the Commonwealth, investments we have made are paying off by putting people back to work and expanding economic opportunity. Working with our partners in the legislature, business community and cities and towns, we can build on these and create a stronger Commonwealth for this generation, and the next."
In Barre, state infrastructure investments totaling $1.25 million in MassWorks grants have been used to overhaul town drainage systems and replace the Dicks Brooks culvert. Completed in October 2012, the project has helped alleviate flooding issues that have plagued the center of town and the library for years with the replacement of waterlines and drainage systems and reconstructed sidewalks. Previously, large rainstorms would create flooding issues in the center of town, most notably in March 2011 when Route 122 was underwater for more than 12 hours during a heavy rainfall. Since 2005, the children's room at the Woods Memorial Library has been flooded three times because of poor drainage.
"It is a great opportunity to have the Governor visit Barre and to be able to show him what this MassWorks Grant made possible," said Senator Stephen Brewer. "The repair of the Dick's Brook Culvert made essential improvements to the flow around the Barre Common, the new drainage system is key to preventing costly flooding issues for local businesses. This investment is critical to the future of the town's economic development and similar infrastructure investments across the state will continue to strengthen the Massachusetts economy."
"The revitalization of the Barre Center and Woods Memorial Library is yet another example of the Patrick-Murray Administration's ongoing commitment to public infrastructure investments and the success of programs like MassWorks," said Senator Gale D. Candaras, Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies. "If we want to attract businesses and jobs, we need to ensure that we are making informed investments to our transportation infrastructure to get people to work as well as to public facilities such as libraries, which play a vital role in workforce development through the offering of adult education classes and access to the internet and job search engines."
"I am grateful to the Patrick administration for providing necessary resources to repair a problem that has plagued the town for so many years," said Representative Anne Gobi. "The Barre Common area is beautiful, and these improvements below the surface will protect property and enhance the Common."
"Continued economic growth requires continued investment in infrastructure," said Representative Joseph F. Wagner, chairman of the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies. "Through the MassWorks program, the legislature and administration have partnered to target infrastructure investment toward projects that also yield substantial economic development benefits. This investment is a critical component of our broader economic development strategy."
Last week, Governor Patrick unveiled a budget proposal that includes new investments in education, innovation and infrastructure, areas that have proven to create new jobs and economic opportunities through increased public investments for every part of the Commonwealth. This includes an additional $19.25 million in the MassWorks program, which would have up to $88.1 million in funding available in Fiscal Year 2014 for cities and towns. In 2012, the Patrick-Murray Administration delivered $38 million to 26 projects across the Commonwealth through MassWorks.
The Governor's plan includes a $1 billion annual investment in the Commonwealth's transportation system to maintain the current transportation assets we have today and launch a number of high-impact transportation projects across Massachusetts that, if built, will create thousands of jobs and spur economic development across the Commonwealth. The plan also includes a $550 million investment in education, reaching $1 billion over four years, to expand access to high quality educational opportunities and make higher education more affordable for all students in Massachusetts.
One of the five main missions of the Patrick-Murray Administration's long-term economic development plan is empowering communities and regions to stimulate development and job creation opportunities, and one of the main engines of that effort is the MassWorks Infrastructure Grant Program. The plan's central focuses also include supporting the innovation economy, improving cost competitiveness and making it easier for businesses to operate, and continue to build a strong, well-trained talent base.