The measure would allow town-owned networks funded by the Massachusetts Broadband Institute to cross town lines and serve "edge" customers who might otherwise not be reached.
Failure to restore the language, in the final days of the state Legislature's formal session, could hobble efforts to bring high-speed internet to rural communities, people involved say.
The state Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed a sweeping economic development bill, boosting support for startups and entrepreneurs, and authorizing targeted investments in projects including a proposed Mohawk Trail shared workspace in East Charlemont.
The economic development bill, which also would funds worker retraining, authorizes $75 million in competitive grants for technical education and workforce training programs and $200 million in bonds to the MassWorks Infrastructure Program to support thousands of jobs in economic development and community revitalization projects, according to Sen. Adam Hinds, D-Pittsfield.
“This legislation will nurture and support economic growth … across western Mass.,” said Hinds. “It makes key investments in infrastructure, maintains the Commonwealth’s economic strength and encourages innovation and entrepreneurship.”
State Sen. Adam G. Hinds, D-Pittsfield, succeeded this week in winning a $2 million allocation in the Senate's economic development bond bill for a planned outdoor center at Greylock Glen. The project is the centerpiece of a scaled-down effort by the town of Adams to bolster commercial activity on the state-owned property.
The Senate's bond bill still must be reconciled with a version that passed in the House. And even then, the allocations it contains — worth as much as $12 million in Hinds' district — must be greenlighted by the governor's office. Unlike an "earmark" in a budget bill, these sums are not considered a lock for recipients.
Still, Hinds said Thursday the funding gives the Greylock Glen project priority for capital spending by the administration.
"The project feels like it's coming together," Hinds said.
In addition to the bond bill, which passed the Senate 37-0 on Wednesday, the Greylock Glen project could benefit from an environmental bond bill.
Two weeks ago, the Senate's environmental bond bill included $6.55 million in new or reauthorized monies for Greylock Glen. That amount was made up of $2.3 million in a new allocation, plus a renewal of $4.25 million that was never tapped but had been included the 2014 environmental bond bill, according to Hinds' office.
By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
07:08AM / Sunday, July 22, 2018
The Legislature’s $41.88 billion compromise budget approved Wednesday includes a new “rural school aid” account championed by local Sen. Adam Hinds as a way of addressing the financial challenges of rural school districts.
The budget calls for $1.5 million in additional funding for rural school districts, most of which are in western Massachusetts.
The new account provides additional funding for an estimated 62 school districts with enrollment of fewer than 21 students per square mile and per capita income below the state average, with priority given to districts serving fewer than 11 students per square mile.
“We’re incredibly excited,” said Hinds, D-Pittsfield. “It will have a big impact schools throughout the commonwealth, but particularly in Western Mass.”
BUCKLAND — Both the state House and Senate have agreed on special legislation that would allow the Mohawk Trail Regional School District’s treasurer to invest the Carl H. Nilman Scholarship Trust Fund to earn more money for future scholarships. The Nilman Fund was established in the will of Carl H. Nilman, a former Buckland resident, to allow part of the income earned from the fund to be used for post-high school scholarships for Mohawk graduates from the nine member towns.
One of those graduates, Sen. Adam Hinds (then of Buckland), was awarded a Nilman scholarship in 1994.
If the state enacts the environmental bond bill unanimously approved this week in the Senate, there will be state money to help pay for repairs and reconstruction of the Ashfield Lake Dam, along with money to improve the observation area in front of the Glacial Potholes in Shelburne Falls.
In the $2 billion environmental bond bill, Sen. Adam G. Hinds, D-Pittsfield, secured almost $29 million worth of capital spending authorizations for environmental infrastructure, protection and to promote outdoor recreation in western Massachusetts.
Senator Hinds secures $28.875M in capital spending authorizations to maintain key environmental infrastructure, protect natural resources and promote outdoor recreation in western Mass.
CFF has had an outsized impact in Western Mass. This year the Cultural Facilities Fund brought $875,000 to cultural facilities in the Berkshires. Recently, the CFF helped Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival in Becket and Shakespeare & Co. in Lenox expand education spaces for our region's schoolchildren, spurred restoration of the Mahaiwe Theatre in Great Barrington, and catalyzed private investment in downtown Pittsfield with timely grants to the Colonial Theatre and Barrington Stage Co. CFF grants have also helped organizations like the Norman Rockwell Museum and Berkshire Historical Society upgrade their historic buildings to become more accessible to adults and children with disabilities.
Since its establishment in a 2007 economic stimulus bill, the CFF has invested $110 million in 853 projects across the Commonwealth. Statewide these organizations already employ more than 7,000 workers, have hired 25,513 architects, designers, engineers, and construction workers for their projects, and plan to add 2,200 new permanent jobs after completing them. In restoring and expanding many of our nation's most treasured historical and cultural landmarks, CFF has driven new tourism, Massachusetts' third largest industry and a key pillar of our Berkshires economy. About 16 million people annually visit these sites across the Commonwealth, with one third coming from out of state. Thank you, New Yorkers!