A few updates regarding the MBTA

A lot has been going on at the MBTA, so I wanted to provide you with a brief update.

I understand that many of you use the Alewife parking garage on a daily basis. As you know, the MBTA closed the garage in mid-August to address safety concerns after concrete fell from the ceiling and damaged a parked vehicle. The garage reopened on August 20 after repairs were made and the garage was determined safe for use.

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Funding secured for Billerica’s Lexington and Glad Valley Project in FY19 Budget The Lowell Sun

BILLERICA — The town is expected to receive $75,000 from the state toward the design and construction of a project on Boston Road at the intersections with Lexington Road and Glad Valley Drive, according to a press release from state Senator Cindy Friedman’s office.

The funding for the project was secured by Friedman in the state’s fiscal year 2019 budget, according to the release.

The $2 million project proposes extending the sidewalk and apron near the intersection and landscaping the area between the two roads.

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Friedman, Jehlen and Garballey testify at MBTA meeting Your Arlington

A news release from Friedman‘s office details testimony from Friedman, Democrat of Arlington; Sen. Patricia Jehlen, Democrat of Somerville; and Garballey, Democrat of Arlington:

The three implored the MBTA’s Fiscal Management and Control Board to promptly provide both short- and long-term plans for repairs to the garage’s infrastructure to increase safety and improve the quality of life for commuters.

“The decrepit conditions of the Alewife garage are well-known to the thousands of commuters who use the garage daily to get to work,” Friedman said in the release. “It’s time for the MBTA to stop with the patchwork repairs and invest in long-term fixes to improve the safety and usability of the garage. There is no reason why people should be paying so much to park in a garage that is in such poor condition.”

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Baker holds school safety roundtable in Burlington Burlington Union

Gov. Charlie Baker was joined by more than a dozen legislators, superintendents and police chiefs on Monday, Aug. 20 for a roundtable discussing his supplemental spending plan to aid public school security.

State Senator Cindy Friedman, D-Arlington, applauded the funding, but also said that unless the state begins to work with insurance providers to enhance mental health coverage, the long term improvements will be hindered by a lack of access to services that would make a difference.

“The members of our public schools and public safety officers are doing a phenomenal job, it is a real honor to be a resident of Massachusetts and working with those officials,” Friedman said. “But if we don’t engage our insurance companies and our providers and people who make decisions about the value they play in our communities, we are not going to solve this problem. It’s all going to be put on the schools and the public safety administrators, so we have to look at that piece really seriously and I think it has to be part of anything we do.’”

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State Environmental Bill Includes $3 Million For Burlington Burlington Patch

Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) and Representative Ken Gordon (D-Bedford) recently lauded the passage of the final version of the Environmental Bond Bill. The bill includes local earmarks to benefit the Town of Burlington, including $3 million for the design, planning and preconstruction of a new water transmission main connecting the Massachusetts Water Resources Authority’s (MWRA) Arlington transmission main line with the Town of Burlington.

“I’m pleased that this legislation includes critical funding to connect Burlington’s water supply with Arlington, especially during a time when our residents are experiencing a water ban,” said Senator Friedman. “This funding will increase access to water supply in town and make necessary infrastructure improvements to enhance the quality of life for our residents while protecting our environment.”

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House and Senate Pass Sweeping Economic Development Bill Bill includes provision honoring labor and workforce champion Ken Donnelly

BOSTON — Senator Cindy Friedman (D-Arlington) recently joined her legislative colleagues in passing a sweeping $1 billion Economic Development Bill, calling for targeted investments in workforce training programs and job creation through ambitious public infrastructure projects.

“With additional grants to support workforce training and education, more workers will have access to opportunities that will lead to good jobs in high-demand industries, further energizing our economy and strengthening our communities,” said Friedman, a member of the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development. “This bill demonstrates the Commonwealth’s commitment to supporting our workforce and creating an economy that works for everyone.”

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Massachusetts Legislature Passes Bill to Combat Opioid Crisis Bill moves to the Governor's desk

BOSTON – On July 31, the Massachusetts Legislature passed H.4742, providing an additional set of tools to address the opioid crisis and establishing the Commonwealth as a national leader in the fight against this epidemic. Among the provisions included in the bill are increasing access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT), exploring tools to reduce harm and save lives, expanding prevention efforts, and addressing the high rates of co-occurring conditions of substance use disorder (SUD) and mental illness.

The bill, An Act for prevention and access to appropriate care and treatment of addiction, is the result of extensive work researching evidence-based best practices and collaborating with healthcare researchers and clinicians, hospitals, behavioral health providers, law enforcement officials, patient advocates and individuals with lived experience, to develop policies to address the opioid epidemic.

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Some Massachusetts Inmates Could Get Medication To Help With Opioid Addiction New England Public Radio

Massachusetts lawmakers have passed legislation that would provide treatment with medication to inmates addicted to opioids.

The bill would allow some inmates at five county jails, including three in the western part of the state, to take prescriptions designed to limit the urge to use opiates. State Senator Cindy Friedman worked to make sure the pilot program was included in a larger opioid bill. “There is a major crisis going on around people with substance use disorder and incarceration,” she said.

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