BOSTON (WWLP) - Governor Deval Patrick has filed a $19 billion dollar spending bill that invests in transportation projects across Massachusetts over the next ten years. The money will address a backlog of road maintenance issues, including a much needed update on the I-91 viaduct, the elevated highway that runs through Springfield.
"That project is essential because the highway has exhausted its useful life and the Commonwealth is spending about $2 million dollars a year just in repair," said Sen. Gale Candaras (D-Wilbraham).
Roughly 4.5 billion will go toward regional rail projects, including expanded rail connections between Springfield to Boston and Pittsfield to New York City.
"The call for investment in passenger rail from Pittsfield to New York City is something that's received a lot of support from my constituents so I think clearly if you're talking about finding ways to create jobs and invest in our communities there's a great deal of support for that in western Mass," said Sen. Benjamin Downing (D-Pittsfield).
But western Massachusetts lawmakers note the governor's plan could be improved in terms of balancing funding between the eastern and western part of the state.
"We need to have probably a little bit more to western Mass, into the RTAs," said Rep. Tricia Farley-Bouvier (D-Pittsfield). "As much money as we're adding to the MBTA, we need to add to the RTA."
More than $3 billion dollars will be invested in Boston's subway and public bus system, the MBTA, while regional transportation authorities like the PVTA will collective receive about $600 million dollars.
About $430 million dollars will be invested in bike paths an walk ways, including one to be build in Chicopee along the Connecticut River.