Local officials at Tuesday’s June 21 selectmen’s meeting claim that no federal funds are available for structural repairs needed at the Fisk Mill Bridge. Selectmen Fleming was specific that US Rep. James McGovern’s office was direct in its response to the town’s inquiries for federal money. Upton officials maintain that meetings with state DOT officials substantiate these assertions of no federal funding.
My contacts at the Mass DOT District 3 office shared with me that federal funds are available and must be applied for in order to be considered. Unfortunately, these dollars if approved would not be available at a minimum for five years. I am told that previously and/or current federally funded Upton projects do not impact the process for funding as intimated by Upton officials. All avenues must be explored before spending money we do not have. Reallocating state provided chapter 90 funds targeted at town road repairs should only be considered as a last resort once all other avenues and efforts have been exhausted.
The potential closure of the Fisk Mill Bridge although inconvenient would have minimal negative impact on Upton residents. I suggest that if the town of Milford cannot wait for federal funding that they pay 100% of the 1-million-dollar bridge estimate to reconstruct.
Upton taxpayers will be penalized if selectmen push to expedite repairs to the Fisk Mill Bridge. I encourage my Upton elected officials and staff to please do their homework. Our Upton finances suffer with the current anemic approach to researching outside funding.
William D. Montenegro