With the year coming to an end I believe it is critical to look back upon and reflect on what we are so thankful for as individuals and as a community. Much has happened, despite the difficult hurdles COVID has placed, and I look forward to continuing persevering in the next year as well. As I represent our fine communities with pride, I wanted to recap our successes below, and outline the priorities for 2022.
My top priority has always been funding and planning Route 38 projects, and despite a set-back from COVID and a few legal issues, Tewksbury is set to see the first major repaving project in years start shortly with the contractor now secured. In 2021 I was able to secure $350,000 in bonds for the design and engineering portion of Route 38 from Burlington Ave to Lake Street in Wilmington, and another $400,000 for Colonial Drive to Shawsheen in Tewksbury. As the Governor and Treasurer’s office can be slow to issue bonds I was frustrated with the rate of progress, but the recent passage of the federal recovery act allowed us to position ourselves to potentially bypass this bottleneck by utilizing federal dollars. Other bond victories, also potentials for federal funding acceleration, included upgrading unaccepted roads and intersection upgrades totaling $1,000,000.
Other earmarks I was thankful to work towards includes supporting our first responders. In Tewksbury our delegation was able to secure over $150,000 in additional funding for our police and fire departments. This means additional ambulance coverage, training, and equipment. In Wilmington we have been supportive of time critical projects at our senior housing site at Demming Way, totaling $225,000 by the end of the year. More minor allocations include sidewalk support, and addressing the damage done to the Wildcat Rail spur during the MBTA’s clearing project, and new electronics on our ambulances to increase Wilmington Fire’s ability to respond to medical emergencies.
I also joined the Massachusetts House also passed legalizing sports betting, one of the most popular legislative requests from our towns. While I do not personally choose to gamble, the proceeds from this would go to local aid, workforce training, and youth activities across the state and allow residents already betting via out-of-state from the comfort of their own home. Early on in the year we also authorized the reconstruction of the Holyoke Soldier’s home, providing our veterans with a new place of respite after their service to our Commonwealth and country. For those in town who are friends of animals, we can be thankful for a joint industry-and-activist supported bill that passed updating humane housing for hens, pigs, and cattle based on national standards.
I will continue working with everyone pushing common-sense solutions to our community based projects. As mentioned above, continuing to push for funding to accelerate our road overall is the most important priority. In addition to this, focusing on Wilmington’s upcoming school proposal – an intensive state project – and relief for Tewksbury’s sewage expansion are top-targets we are constantly pursuing.
It has been an honor to serve, especially in these trying times, but even on days with setbacks or delays I keep my head up knowing I represent some of the finest communities in this state. I wish you all the very best in 2022, as we join together to keep working to make everything a bit better each and every day. Happy New Years to all.
State Representative David Robertson
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