By SCOTT JACKSON
A $10 billion transportation bond bill recently approved by the state Senate includes $10 million for new ferry service to Long Island.
Sen. Nick Collins (D-Boston) proposed including the $10 million for the ferry service in the bill, an amendment his colleagues adopted in a unanimous vote, according to the Boston Herald, which first reported the news. Boston officials have proposed opening a new recovery campus on Long Island.
“This is an intentional effort to decentralize critical services by restoring daily access to public health facilities on Long Island in Boston Harbor,” Collins said in a statement. “I want to thank my colleagues for unanimously supporting this legislation that represents a significant step toward a statewide solution to this epidemic that continues to take too many of our loved ones, friends and neighbors across the Commonwealth.”
A spokesperson for Boston Mayor Michelle Wu told the Herald, “We are grateful for the Senate’s inclusion of this funding as the administration continues to evaluate Long Island as a piece of the City’s medium- and long-term options to address gaps in transitional housing and substance-use disorder treatment and recovery programs.”
A conference committee has been named to iron out the differences in the transportation bills passed by the Senate and the House. Funding for the Long Island ferry service was not included in the House bill.
Officials from Boston and Quincy have been at odds over Boston’s proposal to rebuild the Long Island bridge to provide transportation to and from the proposed recovery campus. Quincy officials have cited the impact the rebuilt bridge could have on traffic in Squantum and other areas of the city and have urged their counterparts in Boston to instead use ferry service to access the island.
Quincy City Councillor William Harris, whose ward includes Squantum, welcomed Collins’ amendment.
“I want to thank Senator Nick Collins, and all of his colleagues that unanimously took a giant step in securing treatment in the future for our many handicapped folks who battle addiction on a daily basis,” Harris wrote in an email.
“Some of my constituents have congratulated me on being part of blocking the building of the Long Island bridge. I have made it quite clear to everyone I have spoken to on this matter, this is not a victory, this is not a time to celebrate, this is time for all of us to come together and assist our neighboring city to our north and be part of the solution to fight the horrible disease of addiction that haunts all of our communities across the Commonwealth and throughout the world.
“I am committed to stand up and ask my city to do its part. And I hope fellow city councilors and representatives will do the same.”