Senator Lesser talks with State Auditor Suzanne Bump on new infrastructure study

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(WWLP) – Senator Eric Lesser will be joined with State Auditor Suzanne Bump to discuss the new infrastructure study and east-west divide.

The conversation was streamed live on Senator Lesser’s Twitter and Facebook pages at 12 p.m. on the recent study conducted by the Office of State Auditor Suzanne Bump assessing the state of infrastructure in Massachusetts.

You can watch the full interview at either of the links below:

According to a news release sent to 22News from the Office of Senator Eric Lesser, The study, Public Infrastructure in Western Massachusetts: A Critical Need for Regional Investment and Revitalization, revealed that communities in western Massachusetts have long suffered from inadequate support to maintain and develop public infrastructure. The study results have led Auditor Bump to call for a rural rescue plan that will increase funding for the Chapter 90 program, which provides state funding to municipalities for roadways, bridges, bikeways, sidewalks, and other transportation improvement projects, create a public infrastructure agency, and continue investment in expanding access to broadband internet.

State Aditor Suzanne Bump found that roads, public buildings and culverts across western Massachusetts are both out dated and in desperate need of repairs. That’s why State Senator Eric Lesser sat down with Bump earlier today to set a plan in motion to get some of this done.

In Auditor Bump’s report she noted that western Massachusetts has declined in population over the last 10 years. Leading to less revenue for cities and towns across the region. Without funding from the state or tax dollars coming in locally cities and towns aren’t able to make the improvements they need to town halls, libraries, and public safety facilities.

On top of that, Bump highlighted a need to connect eastern Massachusetts to western Massachusetts, something that lawmakers have been trying to do through East-West rail for years now.

Auditor Bump suggested using Chapter 90 funding to repair small bridges and culverts across the western part of the state. She also recommended that the state continue it’s expansion of broadband internet so families across the region can connect to the rest of the world.

Now the debate around ARPA funding here at the statehouse could address some of these issues. Members of the western Massachusetts delegation told 22News they are making sure their communities will get their fair share.

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