I recently attended the opening of a new interchange on Route 24 in Fall River. Exit 8B, as it will be called, was funded by the Recovery Act and it struck me, as I stood there on the bridge of the interchange overlooking the highway – amidst workers, state officials and local politicians – that this project represents everything that the stimulus program is about.
First – and foremost – the $35 million project put lots of people to work. From engineers to construction workers to laborers, the project involved many people in many different sectors.
The interchange is also critical to the long term economic development of the South coast area. It is the interchange that is vital to the development of the 300-acre SouthCoast BioPark in Fall River and Freetown, a biotechnology park that is being anchored by UMass Dartmouth and demonstrates enormous economic development potential for the region.
On the other side of the highway, in Freetown, the interchange is providing improved access to the 325-acre Riverfront Business Park. Stop and Shop has its distribution center there and couldn’t expand without this interchange.
This new interchange is the largest Recovery Act funded highway project in the state and it provided a region not only with much-needed jobs in the short term but also with long term economic hope for the future. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: That is what the stimulus program is all about.