Last week the state Senate approved a nearly $50 billion budget with Senator Lydia Edwards able to earmark $160,000 for Revere-based programs and initiatives as well as another $1 million for a regional ferry.
Edwards’ $1 million amendment, by far her largest earmark during the senator’s first budget negotiations since being elected this past winter, will be used to operate a regional water ferry that would connect neighboring Winthrop, East Boston, Lynn, Quincy, and the North End. The ferry extension will add Lynn and Eastie to the Winthrop and Quincy line and bring it under the MBTA.
Edwards said this ferry will mitigate transportation as MassDOT begins its project next month to overhaul the Sumner Tunnel with weekend closures culminating in a four month closure in 2023.
“I was proud to work with my colleagues in the legislature to secure the funds for the necessary mitigation,” said Edwards. “The closing of the Sumner Tunnel impacts the entire region. The funds will be used to subsidize and expand ferry service within the MBTA. We need to be investing in our waterfront transportation.”
Edwards said the $1 million in funding will be used next year when the tunnel is shut down between May and September.
Edwards’ earmark expanded on these efforts in the House with the hopes of creating a more regional ferry program once the Sumner Tunnel is under construction.
As far as Revere-specific programs and initiatives Edwards secured $50,000 for the Friends of Belle Isle Marsh. This money will allow the group to continue their preservation program’s at the marsh.
“Salt marshes like Belle Isle offer various environmental and economic benefits, as our region is increasingly threatened by a rising sea level and temperatures,” said Edwards.
Another $50,000 was secured to Revere’s 2022 International Sand Sculpting Festival that will be used to help offset public safety costs during the festival.
Another $50,000 was earmarked for the Substance Use Disorder and Homeless Initiatives Office in Revere so they can continue their mission to streamline existing programs and increase the City’s capacity to help those affected by substance use disorders. In 2020 the office partnered to create the Covid-19 Emergency Housing and Homelessness Response (EHHR) Program to address the needs and challenges of people experiencing unsheltered homelessness. To address the ongoing use, the office evolved into the Substance Use Disorder & Homeless Initiatives Office (SUDHI).
Finally, Edwards secured $10,000 for Revere Police to continue its community policing outreach and programs.