Dartmouth Would Get $14.8 Million Under New Baker Plan
DARTMOUTH — Gov. Charlie Baker's proposed $3.5 billion spending plan for federal COVID relief funds includes over $14.8 million set aside for Dartmouth — more than Fall River's $9.4 million, Freetown's $3.7 million, and Westport's $320,000 combined.
So why would Dartmouth get so much American Rescue Plan Act funding?
According to the specific line items in Baker's proposal — which were carefully outlined after the state legislature rejected his first, less well-defined ARPA spending bill last year — the bulk of the funds are for offshore wind workforce training equipment at UMass Dartmouth.
These include a recirculating saltwater flume tank, a wave basin, a closed-loop subsonic wind tunnel, and a geotechnical centrifuge for offshore engineering, among other high-tech items.
All together, UMass Dartmouth would receive $8.25 million from the state for offshore wind-related equipment, or just under 56% of the town's total proposed allocations.
The proposed bill must first be approved by the state legislature before the funding will be granted.
Communications Director at UMass Dartmouth Ryan Merrill did not say if the proposed equipment would be housed at the New Bedford marine science SMAST campus or in Dartmouth.
But he did say that if approved, the flume tank, wind tunnel, and other equipment would be located at various spots across UMass Dartmouth buildings.
"The equipment would allow faculty and student researchers to continue our unique research endeavors in the blue economy, including the offshore wind industry, which the Baker-Polito administration has recognized as vital to increasing the Commonwealth’s sustainability goals," Merrill noted.
The university would also receive a $5 million capital planning grant for upgrades under the governor's proposal, bringing UMass Dartmouth's share of the town's proposed allocation to just under 90%.
Other projects that would be funded through the administration's proposed bill include $840,000 for the Mendes-Monteiro House, a housing authority project to provide communal, independent living for disabled seniors.
The town of Dartmouth would also receive $750,000 for flood protection and resiliency measures at Demarest Lloyd State Park, and an $11,000 MassWorks grant to design and engineer sewer upgrades for 40B housing projects.
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