Marshfield selectmen, the DPW, Planning Department and a seawall task force led by Selectman John Hall have grappled with how to fund millions of dollars to repair crumbling coastline infrastructure. The inter-department group has considered the alternatives, the DPW has completed engineering for the most critical length of protection, and April Town Meeting will consider funding of $5 million for that much needed repair.
Monday night, selectmen learned they may have a match for that $5 million from the state. The state legislature has approved a bill filed by Representative Jim Cantwell to help fund infrastructure improvements.
“That legislation now will create a fund that will provide revolving loans and grants that will help with much needed repairs of sea walls, jetties, revetments all up and down the coast,” Cantwell said.
The $17 million to $20 million funding will come from unspent monies in an unused coastal sewer program. Half will go to improve or remove dams, a deal Cantwell made with inland legislators.
If Governor Deval Patrick signs the legislation in the next week, between $17 million and $20 million of unused coastal protection monies will be placed in a new fund to give grants or low-interest loans. Towns like Marshfield, Scituate and Hull, that have suffered damage and have taken action on their own, will top the priority list.