No one would fault Massachusetts residents for being skeptical that an upcoming report from a special commission on the future of transportation will do much to ease their daily commute.
There have, after all, been other studies in past years from government-appointed task forces, think tanks and advocacy groups. Many contained dire warnings of a transportation system in danger of collapsing under the weight of misguided policies, deteriorating infrastructure, inadequate financing, crushing debt or just plain neglect.
These well-intentioned studies often included detailed recommendations, a few of which actually went on to be adopted by lawmakers and state officials. Yet commuters still grapple with clogged highways, frequently unreliable public transit, and uncertainty over whether their tax, toll and fare dollars are being spent as efficiently as possible. (read more)
Even after wind-whipped tides crested the sea wall and surged past Mike and Cyndy Cotter’s home, the Quincy couple had no thoughts of abandoning the property, which overlooks Quincy Bay and the distant Boston skyline.
The storm surge left a foot of frigid seawater in the their living room. Today, the first floor, still down to the studs, sits on a new 10-foot-tall concrete foundation, which they hope will be high enough to protect their home from rising sea levels and ever stronger storms that may threaten it.
The Cotters grew up in and near their tiny Post Island neighborhood, which they now share with four generations of family, and have no intention of leaving. What they don’t know is what will be left of it by the time their 7-year-old grandson is their age.
“We’re looking down the road and what’s he going to inherit?” Mike Cotter said. “Not just whether he gets our house eventually or not, but whether he’s going to be able to live in our neighborhood or not is the bigger question." (read more)
Residents are on their way to reducing carbon dioxide emissions as part of the goals set in the Climate Action Plan, but Energy Committee Chairman Roger Colton said it isn’t enough. At the special Town Meeting on Nov. 13, Colton proposed four points to help the town reach the standard of lowering CO2 emissions by 80 percent by 2050. This standard was set in 2009 with the passing of the CAP.
Colton noted improvements the town had made since 2009, including creating the Energy Committee and the Belmont Better Homes program. Since 2009, Belmont has claimed the title of the highest percentage of solar paneled roofs in the commonwealth, according to Colton.
One of the improvements is that Belmont has the highest percentage of electric cars in any zip code in Massachusetts. Town Meeting member Mary Ann Kazanjian, Precinct 6, said this stat was a surprise.
“I don’t see that many electric cars around,” Kazanjian said. “But I know my husband is interested [in buying an electric car].” (read more)
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