SOUTH BOSTON, August 8, 2018. In 2015, $25 million was authorized by the Legislature for transportation improvements in South Boston. The South Boston Waterfront Sustainable Transportation Plan (see pp. 18-20, 143-146) detailed how this money would be spent, listing dozens of planned investments, many of which were supposed to be made within three years. They included improvements along the L Street corridor, Day Boulevard, Farragut Road, and Old Colony Avenue, among many others.
This funding was authorized, but not allocated—meaning there was never any money sitting in a bank account, waiting to be spent. It was up to state officials to push for these investments, and most of them never happened. My opponent, David Biele says that he’ll “hold agencies accountable,” but for more than two years, he was in a position within the Legislature to do something about this. Unfortunately, he did not. Where was he while this funding authorization was sitting unused? What was more important?
Furthermore, while the Plan listed many improvements intended for residential South Boston, the legislative language specifies that the money is for the waterfront. This presumably excludes the parts of our neighborhood where most people live. David Biele played an active role in drafting this language. He has touted his experience drafting legislation “in support of our community and neighborhoods,” and yet, the community’s concerns about roadways in residential South Boston were not considered or included in this legislation.
We can respect and applaud the advocacy of our elected officials and at the same time recognize that sometimes we need a new perspective to fix an old problem. South Boston needs an independent voice who will stick up for this neighborhood. We need a representative who will work with other elected officials when appropriate, but who won’t be afraid to disagree when it’s in the interest of our community. I’ve made that commitment. I will be your voice, and I will see to it that investments like these are not just secured, but implemented, so we can keep our neighborhoods safe.
Matt Rusteika is a father, fourth-generation South Bostonian, and experienced policymaker running for State Representative in South Boston and Dorchester. He lives on M Street with his wife Katrina (an attorney), their son Simon, and their dog Watson. You can find him on Facebook and Twitter.