Friday, April 16, 1999
Local towns want state to hear Route 3 concerns
Talking to the legislature about transportation funding is like "talking to the choir or whistling Dixie," according to Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination (MAGIC) representative Gordon Feltman of Bedford. He reported that after a recent meeting with legislators and Edward Corcoran, Secretary of Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation and Construction.
Route 3 North plans
Route 3 widening continues to be a hot topic on Beacon Hill, where Feltman said legislators are enthusiastic about the proposal to have developers initially fund the construction in exchange for air rights. Local officials in MAGIC's constituent towns have considerable reservations and doubts about what a developer might do, since the development will be paid for by extensive development above and alongside the highway. Recent Boston Globe articles about the central artery have covered the kinds of possible development included under air rights. Though individual communities have expressed resistance to the proposed development model, they have apparently not communicated their concerns effectively because, as Feltman put it, "the train just keeps rolling." Feltman said Corcoran indicated his willingness to meet with representatives of local communities about their concerns and that meeting has been set tentatively for next week in Bedford.
Constituent communities have updated the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) list, which is a prioritized list of approved transportation projects. The Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) allocates both federal and state transportation funds for projects on that list. At this time, there is one contested position on the MPO and one of MAGIC's present priorities is to have a representative from this area elected to that vacancy, so that this region's needs will be better represented when TIP funding decisions are made. The current list of TIP projects will be reviewed at MAGIC's May meeting.
In February, MAGIC submitted a letter to the Central Transportation Planning Staff requesting funding for research on traffic patterns that would underlie shuttle service from existing transportation systems to the increasing number of commercial developments west of Boston. That request was returned with a suggestion to resubmit, and representatives from several towns considered the possibility of finding other funding for the needs study. An indication of the urgency and the expense of such a study is that 35,000 persons are estimated to use the Route 2 Crosby Corner corridor daily and a study of that very small piece of the transportation picture in this area would require about $50,000. If more than 250 people are involved in any single transportation corridor, the Clean Air Act mandates a study, but funding and coordinating the activity continues to be problematic.
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito