Governor Patrick’s plan to create jobs and expand our economy across the Commonwealth through investments in 21st Century transportation and educational opportunity is nothing less than a blueprint for a bright future of growth and high quality of life for citizens wherever they may live.
And nowhere is that vision- and potential- more vivid than in the Metro West area surrounding the I-495 interchanges with I-90 and Route 9. I had the pleasure of visiting Marlborough this week and speaking to state and local leaders in that region about the Governor’s bold plans to invest in our future- and what it means for their local residents and the state as a whole.
The news about the economy in this area is extremely positive. More than 300 businesses employ nearly 14,000 workers in the I-495/I-90/Route 9 surrounding area, from large employers EMC Corporation and Global Investment Servicing to new entrepreneurs. In fact, new businesses in this area represented almost 6% of new business filings in the Commonwealth in 2009.
Today, the question for the Metro West region, and every region in our state, is how can we build on this success and create new opportunities in the future? A comprehensive MassDOT study of the Interchange 495/I-90/Route 9 region involving significant input from local leaders and residents will soon make final recommendations about short-term and long-term investments. I want to thank the Study Advisory Group and 495 Metro West Partnership for their participation and ideas.
These investments will require funding, and the Governor’s plan offers a solution. “The Way Forward- a 21st Century Transportation Plan” includes a critical first step- $12 million to widen Route 9 and construct other improvements between Computer Research Drive in Westborough and Crystal Pond Road in Southborough. This project will benefit area employees and provide improvements that create the ability to walk or bicycle safely through the corridor.
Working through our strong state, local and Metro West business partnerships, we will make future transportation improvements in the I-495 corridor a priority, including the congested interchange of I-495 and I-90. In addition, the Governor’s transportation plan includes an investment in every single community across the Commonwealth in the form of an historic $100 million statewide increase in annual Chapter 90 funding for local road and bridge projects. This will make a real, positive difference for communities such as Wayland in Metro West and every City and Town in our state.
The Governor’s FY14 budget proposes new tax revenues essential to making these investments a reality. Additional revenues will support public investments in education, transportation and innovation that will create jobs and opportunity, and be raised in a way that improves the simplicity and fairness of our tax system, and ensures our economic competitiveness.
These new revenues come only after the Patrick-Murray administration first made great progress in reform and cost control across state government, saving hundreds of millions of dollars in transportation alone. But even with these reforms, the state budget is challenged to meet our obligation to protect the most vulnerable residents in our communities while making critical investments in our economy.
We all want a Massachusetts where employees can easily get to and from work, where every student receives a quality education, and where everyone who wants a good job can get one. By investing in the Commonwealth’s education system, we will provide universal access to high quality early education, fully-funded K-12 schools, and more affordable and accessible higher education. By making strategic transportation improvements, we will provide residents what they have told us they want- safer roads and bridges and more bus, train, and subway service. And these investments will pay off- The American Public Transportation Association says every dollar invested in transportation produces $4 in economic return.
Governor Patrick has charted a course of optimism about our state’s future and growing opportunity for all. And he has told us that opportunity can be achieved only if we invest in our infrastructure, and our people. I look forward to working with the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and legislators and the business community from Metro West and every corner of our state to make the case for this bright future.