Quincy: Officials and residents voice concerns at Mass DOT transportation meeting

Representatives from the Department of Transportation held a public meeting at Quincy High School Thursday night, to talk about the future of transportation in the Commonwealth.

The DOT listened as residents and city councilors voiced their concerns and ideas and touched on some issues like the redevelopment of Quincy Center, providing handicapped accessibility at the Wollaston T station, replacing the Fore River Bridge and repairing roads.

City Councilor Margaret LaForest said getting Quincy’s deteriorating roads fixed is a high priority – with little funding.

“There are just so many needs and there’s so many roads in the area that I represent that I would love to make these improvements on, but we just cannot afford them. We are heavily reliant on that (Chapter 90) money from the state and Quincy is only getting $2 million a year – and we’re one of the bigger cities in the Massachusetts,” LaForest said.

State Secretary of Transportation Richard Davey admits the system is badly broken and needs to be fixed.

“We are not paying today in a responsible way for our system. Our highway program – most of our operating employees are paid for off our state credit card. It’s been going on for decades and we have to fix that. The MBTA – the most indebted transit agency in the United States – we spend more in debt service than payroll. Let me repeat that; more in debt service than payroll. That’s crazy. What does the mean? It means that we can’t run more service that people are asking for and we can’t make targeted improvements, so all of that is hampering our ability to move forward. Tonight was an honest conversation in that regard, but then to listen to folks to see what we can do to improve, if we can get some resources,” Davey explained.

About John Penny

John Penny is a town news reporter at WATD. He primarily covers stories in the towns of Marshfield, Cohasset, Scituate, Norwell, Hingham, Abington and Quincy.