OP-ED: 100 Days In; A Report to the 19th District from Beacon Hill
By State Rep. David Robertson
Last week I had the honor of serving you, the citizens of the 19th Middlesex, for my one hundredth day in office. As part of my campaign I pledged, on top of my local legislative priorities, to be accessible and transparent on my actions on Beacon Hill. Through this article I want to give you an update on what I've been doing for our wonderful homes, and what is to come.
First, the issue that we all agree is literally strangling our residential and commercial quality of life, Route 38. Tewksbury and Wilmington both have good news heading their way. Tewksbury's MassDOT project, numbered 608297, is nearing its the end of its design phase. Stretching from Colonial Drive, through the center of town, and ending at New Boston Road the project will widen the road for improved bicycle and car accommodation, install new concrete sidewalks, upgrade roadway drainage, allow ADA compliant crosswalks and install signs and pavement markings to improve traffic flows.
In Wilmington I, along with Senator Bruce Tarr and Representative Ken Gordon, have worked with Jeff Hull and others to push Wilmington's project #608051 into the next phase of MassDOT projects. The town funded the redesign for the plans, and when ground breaks it will reshape Route 38 from Route 62/Burlington Ave with upgrades similar to Tewksbury's project. In addition to an upgraded and high visible traffic light and pedestrian crosswalk system, when constructed the intersection will have newer angles, new turn lane layouts, improved sidewalk and bicycle capability for commuters, and expanded travel lanes. No more will people going to or from work, or even just going about town, sit in traffic for a long while.
Aside from Route 38 we have made some other great strides in improving our homes. To help Tewksbury's sewage debt relief I have filed a bill to help homeowners use tax credits to hook up to the system, helping eliminate the costly process and sought state funding to help pay off our principle bond debt early. Representative Nguyen, Senator Finegold, and myself have also pushed forward a bill I refiled to expand the Tewksbury State Cemetery. Due to our teamwork, the bill has already had its first hearing, and we are hopeful to continue the momentum. Lastly, thanks to the voters, Tewksbury has taken the next step forward towards consolidating and building a new elementary school. This was a specific moment of pride for me personally, as I helped survey land for the project years ago when first discussed, and advocating for the roughly $33 million dollars was a special moment when we were approved.
Over in Wilmington we are making great strides as well. The selectboard was hard at work reestablishing an economic development committee, and with a list of suggestions to help breath new life into the Market Basket plaza strip of Route 38 we will begin working to establish new business. We also received some positive, though cautious, news regarding Olin Chemicals expedited cleanup. While I am happy to see our efforts pay off, I and my state and federal colleagues will keep an eye on the project to ensure it is to our standard. I lastly want to congratulate the citizens on organizing to stave off the detox center. I had spoken on the issue a few times, but the rallying of the people to encourage the town to reject the proposal was democracy in action. I hope that the court case proceeds our way, and stand ready to return in whatever supportive role I can be.
In the next 100 days I intend to continue working on my pledge to you that I made during the campaign. I have begun searching for federal funding for both towns to assist in planning and constructing senior housing. I have also taken time to testify on increasing state funding for our schools to offset property tax increases, and for ways to alleviate senior property tax increases so they may stay in their home. But above all, I intend to continue working with my aide, KC Fussell, in serving you with your problems big or small. We've called to have potholes filled, lost handicap placards resent, and more. If you are having an issue, give us a call at 617-722-2210, or email me at email@example.com, as I work for you. I thank you for taking the time to read this, and look forward to bringing you more news from the district and the State House.