Bill includes cash for South Coast rail, East Branch cleanup

Hix Bridge as seen from the boat ramp. Arrow points to the safe navigational channel — depths in much of the rest of the passage have been severely restricted by dumped debris from past bridge rebuilds. Hix Bridge as seen from the boat ramp. Arrow points to the safe navigational channel — depths in much of the rest of the passage have been severely restricted by dumped debris from past bridge rebuilds.

Hix Bridge as seen from the boat ramp. Arrow points to the safe navigational channel — depths in much of the rest of the passage have been severely restricted by dumped debris from past bridge rebuilds.

Hix Bridge as seen from the boat ramp. Arrow points to the safe navigational channel — depths in much of the rest of the passage have been severely restricted by dumped debris from past bridge rebuilds.

The House and Senate have passed a bill authorizing $13 billion in capital spending over the next five years to fund improvements to the Commonwealth’s transportation system, local legislators announced.

Included is money for South Coast rail service and $400,000 to remove Hix Bridge debris from the East Branch of the Westport River. The bill may also help improve at least three roads in Westport.

“This bill ensures the modernization of our state’s transportation system and demonstrates a particular commitment to the South Coast,” said Senator Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport). “The collective and collaborative efforts of the regional delegation resulted in funding for several key projects – including South Coast Rail – that will enhance accessibility and prosperity in our part of the Commonwealth.”

“The Transportation Bond Bill is a well thought out piece of legislation that addresses many issues facing the South Coast,” said Representative Paul A. Schmid (D-Westport). “Most importantly, bringing our transportation infrastructure in to the 21st century, including funding for South Coast Rail will have a huge impact on the economic development of the South Coast. We must be better connected to Boston and as a region.”

The bill includes $300 million in Chapter 90 funding for FY 2015 for the rebuilding and repairing of roads and bridges — Westport plans to bid for a portion of that to assist with paving Beach Avenue and East Beach Road and repairing partially collapsed Riverview Avenue.

The bill dedicates $2.3 billion for South Coast rail improvements and creates a $100 million South Coast rail mitigation program to assist communities impacted by the South Coast rail project.

The bill now awaits approval from Governor Patrick.

 

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