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Wed December 21, 2011
$4.65 Million Grant from Federal Highway Administration to Aid Irene Recovery Projects
By Lucas Willard
Pittsfield, MA – The Federal Highway Administration funds which will be distributed by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, will head to cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth. Massachusetts became eligible for the funding following Governor Deval Patrick's State of Emergency Declaration after the storm in late August. US Senators Scott Brown and John Kerry also advocated for the funding.
State Senator Benjamin Downing serves one of Massachusetts' hardest hit senatorial districts. He applauded the MDOT funding allocated to Western Massachusetts.
Destruction caused by flooding affected roads such as routes 2 and 8a which serve as vital lifelines to small communities. And those smaller cities and towns throughout Massachusetts may not have the money to repair their lifelines. Downing again
State Representative William "Smitty" Pignatelli serves towns in the Southern Berkshires. He sees the money as a welcome relief.
During the storm, rainwater damaged retaining walls in the town of Mount Washington, one of many projects the money will be used to restore. Pignatelli, again
518,000 dollars will be allocated to Berkshire County alone. Repairs will also focus in Franklin County, as well as areas throughout the state, including Bristol County, which was also hit particularly hard by Tropical Storm Irene. 4.65 million dollars total has been awarded for Massachusetts.
Senator Downing remarked the money will not only go towards repairing roadways, but also ensuring that Massachusetts highways will be better protected from future damages.