Northampton to get infrastructure funds in $3 billion authorization bill

Photo Courtesy of || The new infrastructure bill has funds for repairs in Northampton and University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Photo Courtesy of || The new infrastructure bill has funds for repairs in Northampton and University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Katherine Hazen '18

In a bill working through the Massachusetts Statehouse lies $43.8 million for various infrastructure projects in Northampton. 

The Senate version of the $3.65 billion bond authorization still needs to be reconciled with the House version, and there are no guarantees that funding included in the Capital Facilities Bond bill will be released, according to the Gazette. 

The bill in its current state earmarks $3 million for improvements at Smith Vocational and Agricultural high school, in addition to $20 million for “[the] modernization of the court facility located in the city of Northampton to address life safety, holding and security, mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems and cross circulation,” and $800,000 for Three County Fairgrounds.

The bill also contains funds for repairing the “roof, masonry or windows” of Northampton Superior Court. 

General Manager of Three Country Fairgrounds James Przypek told the Gazette the money in S.2279 would cover about half the costs of two priority projects. 

“The first is a renovation of the historic grandstand, the second would be to overhaul what is known as Barn 10 and make it usable year-round,” the Gazette reported.

The bill contains nearly $500 million for neighboring University of Massachusetts at Amherst. 

UMass Spokesman Edward Blaguszewski told the Gazette that UMass used funds from the 2008 $2.2 billion higher education bond bill to finance projects such as the construction of the Physical Sciences Building. 

However, there remains widespread need for renovating buildings and “addressing deferred maintenance.”

Senator Stanley Rosenberg, D-Amherst, said in a statement last Thursday that the projects funded by the bill will serve students and senior citizens and improve quality of life overall for the area. 

The bond bill is not the only spending the commonwealth is taking on. 

Last Thursday, Governor Charlie Baker announced a $160 million supplemental spending bill, including about $26 million for families evacuating Puerto Rico and about $2 million for family planning services for low-income and uninsured families. 

The funding would cover federal Title X funds that could expire March 31. 

“Our administration fully supports access to women’s health care and family planning services, and is requesting supplemental state funding to support these critical services in the event of an interruption in federal funding,” Baker said last week.