State Rep. Eric T. Turkington, who represents the Cape and Islands, has proposed three amendments to a transportation bond bill which would allocate more than $1.5 million in state transportation funding for three Vineyard projects.
One amendment would expend $650,000 on the construction of the roundabout at the blinker intersection on Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road. Another would provide $480,000 on safety improvements for the multi-use path along County Road in Oak Bluffs. The third would provide $460,000 for multi-user path improvements along Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road in Edgartown.
The transportation bond bill, with Mr. Turkington’s amendments intact, already has been approved by the Massachusetts House of Representatives. The bill now is awaiting approval by the state senate.
Of the three projects, the roundabout is by far the most controversial. After years of debate and consternation, Oak Bluffs selectmen in September of 2006 agreed to build the roundabout, a single-lane traffic rotary intended to help relieve traffic during busy summer months.
Mr. Turkington told the Gazette yesterday the amendments are the first step in a two-part bonding authority process. To receive funding, the amendments must first pass the state house and senate, and then receive final approval from Gov. Deval Patrick and state secretary of transportation Bernard Cohen.
Mr. Turkington said the Vineyard must compete against other communities for the transportation funding. He said that the state department of transportation, commonly known as MassHighway, gives out roughly $600 million in aid to towns and cities each year.
He said it was hard to predict if the Vineyard would receive the entire amount of just over $1.5 million, but said the Island had a better chance of receiving the funding for the roundabout, then the improvements to the two multi-use paths. But he noted it is hard to predict which projects would receive funding.
“All these amendments do are tee the finding up. It lists these projects as priorities and puts [the Vineyard] in line to receive the funding. My office will continue to work to help the legislature, the governor and the secretary of transportation realize that these are important projects,” Mr. Turkington said.