Local delegation reacts to loss of grant over MBTA noncompliance 

By Elaine Cushman Carroll Milton Times staff

The Healey-Driscoll Administration’s decision to pull back the $140,800 Seaport Economic Council grant to study repairs to the seawall at Milton Landing, has generated strong pushback from many state and local officials. Local legislative leaders state Rep. Bill Driscoll and Sen. Walter Timilty vowed to work to recapture the money that was gained through a fair process and to continue to work with state officials.

The discretionary grant was given to Milton and then rescinded after voters in a special election turned down a plan to comply with the state’s MBTA Communities Act. The rejection of Article 1 put the town out of compliance with the law’s Jan. 2 deadline and left it ineligible for several grant programs under the letter of the law. In addition the administration announced that communities not in compliance could also lose discretionary grants and be given lower priority for about 13 other funding grants.

Driscoll said, “I have serious concerns with the Governor’s unilateral decision to amend the so-called MBTA Communities Act to include the Seaport Council grants. The law does not grant the Governor the power to expand penalties and I am curious as to her legal rationale.”

He said that the grant “was part of a fair and competitive process.To move the goalposts is not only unfair, it appears to be an overreach.”

Timilty said, “I am deeply concerned and opposed to the administration rescinding grant money that had been awarded to the Town of Milton. This is strictly a punitive measure by the Commonwealth.

“The grant for $140,800 was designated for important safety improvements to the seawall at Milton Landing,” stated Timilty. “I disagree with that decision to revoke this grant that was awarded to the Town of Milton through a fair process.

“Furthermore, quite simply, the grant money should not be a bargaining chip,” Timilty said. “I, wholeheartedly, believe in empowering local communities through open dialogue. In that effort, I have personally met with Secretary Augustus and his staff to advocate for Milton,” Timilty added. “Continuing this effort, I am in the process of convening another meeting with Secretary Augustus to hold further discussions on this important matter.”

Driscoll said that as a life-long resident of Milton, “I have never experienced such a divisive issue reaching this level of neighbor vs. neighbor sentiment as I did during the recent referendum.”

He said he has previously met with Ed Augustus, secretary of the Executive Office of Housing and Livable Committees (HLC) whose office oversees the administration of the law, and welcomes any chance to continue to engage the governor and her administration “on the issues related to implementing reasonable zoning for transit oriented housing.”

“I hope to work towards bridging that gap moving forward and seeing that Milton is treated fairly in this process,” Driscoll said.

State Rep. Brandy Fluker Oakley said, “I know that the state will continue to inform the town about any consequences or repercussions related to the ballot measure.”

“I look forward to continue working with the Town of Milton and the Healey-Driscoll Administration toward our shared goal of addressing the housing crisis. I will gladly attend any meeting the town administrator would like to have me present for to identify a solution,” she said.



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