Upton’s town manager Blythe Robinson reported at the 9/20/16 selectmen’s meeting of having no progress with Congressman McGovern’s efforts to secure funds for the reconstruction of the Fisk Mill Bridge. Ms. Robinson said that funding via the Transportation Improvement Projects (TIP) is highly unlikely and if approved the money would not be available for another 10 years.
It’s my understanding that the Commonwealth has budgeted through the Capital Investment Program (CIP) a $2 billion bridge program for FY’s 2017-2021. This program is targeted at reducing the proportion of bridges that are structurally deficient to under 5%.
Mass DOT engineer’s recent inspection categorizes the Fisk Mill Bridge structurally deficient. Survey estimates the bridge to have a 5-year service life before being re-classified structurally unsafe. Projected life expectancy of the bridge provides time for officials to continue pursuing outside funding.
Mass DOT’s bridge assessment in conjunction with criteria needed for federal/state funding confirms the Fisk Mill Bridge to be a candidate for CIP consideration. CIP funding maximizes the scope of work and will pay 100% the cost of re-construction. To my knowledge Upton has not submitted application for these funds.
Regardless, Upton selectmen’s drafting and endorsing Article 17 to approve $280,000 of town money to pay for limited bridge rehabilitation while CIP funds remain available is inappropriate and certainly not a good use of local taxpayer dollars.
I respectfully ask my Upton neighbors to please vote no on Article 17.
William D. Montenegro