Meschino Says More Funds for Community Libraries Are a Must

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 12, 2016

Contact: Laura Burns
781 749-0880
Lburns887@gmail.com 

HULL— “Robust funding for public libraries is essential to vibrant local communities, because libraries enrich our communities in a myriad of ways,” said Joan Meschino, Democratic candidate for State Representative in the Third Plymouth District.  “We have a responsibility to increase funding for operations and for capital projects to ensure that community residents enjoy lifelong learning for years to come,” she said. “I look forward to working with our libraries in the district to guarantee adequate funding for the future.”

“Libraries are a gateway to information and exploration and must keep pace with their ever-expanding role as a trusted resource for research, literature, and programs that inform, entertain, and inspire members of our community,” she said. “Community libraries are particularly important to low-income families and seniors on fixed incomes.  The local library is often essential for news, public information, and for a job search for residents without access to a smart phone or a computer at home.”

Today’s libraries must reflect our changing world and evolving technology. “Our public libraries play a vital role in the information age,” said Meschino.  “We must level the playing field by providing access for every citizen, particularly those who lack the means to acquire new technology and must rely on public access to this essential resource.” 

“The library is where we first come together as toddlers for story hours and where our children and grandchildren carry on this tradition today,” she said.  “It’s a center for lectures, concerts, and art exhibits, for book discussion groups, and for meeting up with neighbors.  Contrary to speculation that the internet might supplant libraries, the opposite has occurred,” Meschino said. “The public library has become a transformational place where people of all ages go to learn, grow, and socialize.”

Meschino Will Lead the Fight to Cap Future MBTA Fare Increases

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 25, 2016

Contact: Geri Spanek
617.557.4560
gerispanek@yahoo.com

or

Contact: Laura Burns
781.749.0880
lburns887@gmail.com

HULL— How much is too much? Joan Meschino, Democratic candidate for State Representative, knows the answer to this question. 

“The nine percent average fare increase imposed by the MBTA on July 1 is excessive and creates an unnecessary financial burden for South Shore commuters who rely on boat and rail service to travel to work, school, medical appointments, downtown Boston, and Logan Airport,” said Meschino.                  

Government should encourage the use of public transportation instead of making it less accessible and more expensive, she said.

“When I served on the MBTA Advisory Board I was a vocal opponent of the fare increase and I have advocated for fare reductions,” said Meschino, a member of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, an organization that promotes sustainable transportation by coordinating transportation funding programs and advocating for transportation finance reform. “I will lead the fight to cap future fare increases at no more than five percent every two years, if elected. This is a priority.”

When commuter fares take a bigger bite from household budgets, the result across-the-board is less disposable income to help fuel the local economy, said Meschino. “More money spent on tickets and monthly passes means less money spent at locally owned businesses, such as coffee shops, restaurants, clothing stores, other retail establishments, and service providers,” she said.  

“Fare increases also force commuters back into their vehicles,” said Meschino, a former Hull Selectman and lifelong district resident. “The result is more traffic and greater dependency on fossil fuels. This creates more air pollution, increasing the risk of asthma and other respiratory illnesses.”

Meschino is a leading proponent of more state funding to support public transit. “Making public transportation a more viable option will increase ridership,” she said. “Commuter boat service is especially important to this region and should expand to other communities.”

Funds to Protect Our Fragile Shoreline a Top Priority for Joan Meschino

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 18, 2016

Contact: Geri Spanek
617.557.4560
gerispanek@yahoo.com

Hull—Joan Meschino, Democratic candidate for State Representative, plans a comprehensive initiative to seek grants and other funding to help protect Cohasset, Hingham, Hull, and North Scituate from rising sea levels and continuing coastal erosion, if elected. Meschino is currently a member of the Metropolitan Beaches Commission, which has completed more than $20 million in capital projects, including Quincy Shore Drive, since its inception in 2006.

“This district includes many miles of coastline, and we will continue to experience destructive storm surges and rising sea levels,” said Meschino, a Hull native who served two terms as a Hull Selectman. “Planning and executing proactive, protective measures is far more efficient and cost effective than simply cleaning up after major storms pound our fragile shoreline.  And here in New England, we know that these storms will continue to occur, like it or not.”

Reducing greenhouse gases, a major contributing factor in global warming and the resulting rising sea levels, is also a priority for Meschino.

“The evidence that sea levels will continue to rise and disrupt lives and threaten homes and businesses is indisputable,” said Meschino, an attorney and former executive director of Massachusetts Appleseed, a public interest justice center that promotes equal rights and opportunities by developing systemic solutions that eliminate social justice inequities. ”The ripple effect of climate change begins with greenhouse gases that cause rising sea levels that, in turn, can and do damage our infrastructure and threaten public safety with potential for serious injuries and fatalities.”  

Meschino encourages everyone to use the climate change toolkit on her website to learn more about topics such as how climate change affects communities, greenhouse gas reduction strategies, and how marketplace reforms and increased energy efficiency make new gas pipelines unnecessary, at http://joanmeschino.com/climate-change.

Meschino Advocates for South Shore Transportation Projects

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July 25, 2016

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Pam Wolfe

(781) 706-2890

pjdwsunset@comcast.net

HULL – Democrat Joan Meschino, candidate for State Representative for the Third Plymouth District, spoke out for projects and studies for the South Shore communities of Hingham, Hull, Cohasset and North Scituate this month, requesting federal and state funding. The projects include two roadway safety and capacity projects in Hingham on Derby Street; one bridge replacement and rehabilitation project in Cohasset on Atlantic Avenue, and two road upgrades in Hull and Cohasset. She also advocated for improvements for commuter boats and the Red Line and for bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure for school children.

“There are a number of projects waiting for federal and state funding,” said Meschino. “They need to be approved and given the go-ahead for construction. The safety and mobility of all travelers in these locations is at stake,” she said.

In addition to the construction projects, Meschino asked for federal and state funds for projects that could benefit the South Shore, such as fixing bottlenecks like the Braintree Split and traffic problems on regional corridors like 3A. She heartily supported funding for studies of Greenhouse Gas reduction strategies and providing support for local shuttle bus planning. 

Meschino made these requests in letters to the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (here and here), the body responsible for deciding which projects receive federal transportation funding in the Boston region.

“My goal has always been about serving the South Shore in ways that make a real difference,” Meschino explained. “Advocating for the South Shore’s transportation needs is one way I’ll serve the communities of Hingham, Hull, Cohasset and North Scituate as State Representative,” she said.

Meschino is a former Hull Selectmen and non-profit executive who is seeking election as a write-in candidate in the Democratic Primary Election for the State House of Representatives, September 8th.

Meschino Opposes Surtax For Gas Pipeline and Compressor Station

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 20, 2016 

Contact: Pam Wolfe
(781) 706-2890
pjdwsunset@comcast.net

HULL – Democrat Joan Meschino, candidate for State Representative for the Third Plymouth District seat, called on the legislature to ban the surcharge sought by utility companies which would require ratepayers to pick up the cost of new gas pipelines through Massachusetts and a compressor station in Weymouth.  These facilities are unnecessary and pose environmental and health risks.  

“The state senate voted 29-0 to ban the surcharge for new gas infrastructure, but the house failed to speak up.  I urge the legislature to include the ban in the energy bill which is now in conference committee, and approve it as the senate did. This surcharge amounts to a hidden tax increase that will burden all residents of the South Shore and benefit only the utility companies,” said Meschino. “These facilities will bring no benefit to our district, and if they are built, and the gas is used in our state, we will fail to meet our legally-mandated fossil-fuel reduction goals under our Global Warming Solutions Act. As State Representative, I’ll vote ‘No!’ and continue my work to oppose any approval of these new facilities and any related rate increase.  I will stand with South Shore residents, speaking out to protect our environment, our neighborhoods, and our budgets,” she promised. 

Meschino is a former Selectmen and non-profit executive who was the Democratic nominee in this spring’s special senate election. She has been endorsed by organizations such as the Environmental League of Massachusetts, the Massachusetts Teachers Association, the Massachusetts Women’s Political Caucus, and state, regional, and local leaders. 

“My goal has always been about serving the South Shore in ways that make a real difference,” Meschino continued. “Protecting ratepayers in the district from industry attacks on their budgets will be at the top of my list of goals as State Representative.”

Joan Meschino's Letter on the Draft FFYs 2017-2021 Transportation Improvement Program

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July 20,2016

David Mohler, Chairman 
Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization
10 Park Plaza, Suite 2150 
Boston, MA 02116

RE: Comments on the Draft FFYs 2017-2021 Transportation Improvement Program 

Dear Chairman Mohler,

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments concerning the projects being considered for funding in the Draft Federal Fiscal Years 2017-2021 Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). I am writing to state my support for several projects that would be beneficial to several towns on the South Shore (Hingham, Hull, Cohasset, and North Scituate) as they work to address traffic problems and maintain roads and bridges. I support funding Red Line and commuter boat improvements. In addition, I ask that the MPO, when evaluating projects, give high value to a project's ability to deliver reductions in greenhouse gases (GHGs).

I ask that the MPO continue to include the following regionally important roadway projects for funding in the Draft FFY s 2017-2021 TIP:

• Arterial and Intersection - Project 607309 - Hingham, Reconstruction and Related Work on Derby Street from Pond Park Road to Cushing Street. This project is needed to address capacity, congestion and safety problems at the Route 3 ramps and along Derby Street. I hope the design will include bicycle and pedestrian elements. Please fund this project, as proposed, for construction in FFY 2017.

• Arterial and Intersection - Project 600518 - Hingham - Intersection Improvements at Derby Street, Whiting Street (Route 53) and Gardner Street. This project is needed to address traffic flow and safety issues with signal and roadway configuration upgrades and accommodations for bicycles and pedestrians. Please fund this project, as proposed, for construction in FFY 2018.

In addition, I ask that the MPO encourage the Massachusetts Department of Transportation Highway Division to make it a priority to advertise the Project 607345 (C-17-002) - Cohasset, Superstructure Replacement and Substructure Rehabilitation at Atlantic Avenue over Little Harbor Project, as currently programmed for FFY 2016. This project is very important to the Town of Cohasset.

Several other projects benefitting South Shore drivers are in the TIP Universe of Projects. Please continue to review these projects and work with Hull and Cohasset to advance them for inclusion in a future TIP. These projects are:

• Project 608007 - Cohasset, Corridor Improvements and Related Work on Justice Cushing Highway (Route 3A) from Beechwood Street to the Scituate town line.

• Project 601607 - Hull, Reconstruction of Atlantic Avenue and Related Work from Nantasket Avenue to the Cohasset Town Line

Regarding public transit, although the TIP does not specify project spending for public transit for the South Shore, I recommend that the MPO approve funding programs that include commuter boat and Red Line projects when the MBTA brings these programs forward for funding in the TIP. The MBTA Capital Investment Program currently includes projects providing the following improvements to these modes for 2016: for Commuter Boats - vessels, improvements at the Hingham Boat Terminal, and for the Hingham Marine Intermodal Center; for the Red Line - system support, station improvements, new signals, and vehicle procurement. These improvements are greatly needed to keep service reliable and accommodate the growing demand for service on these modes.

Finally, I'm weighing-in in support of the Safe Routes to Schools program and hope that the MPO will consider future projects that emerge from working with the municipalities of Cohasset, Hingham, Hull and Scituate.

Thank you again for the opportunity to comment on the Draft FFYs 2017-2021 TIP. Very truly yours,

Joan Meschino 

Joan Meschino's Letter to Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization

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July 11, 2016

David Mohler, 
Chairman Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization 
Suite 2150 
10 Park Plaza 
Boston, MA 02116

RE: Support for Studies in the FFY 2017 UPWP 

Dear Chairman Mohler,

Thank you for this opportunity to comment on the set of studies under consideration for funding in the Federal Fiscal Year 2017 Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP). I write to support several planning studies and ongoing programs that would be particularly helpful for South Shore towns (Hingham, Hull, Cohasset, Scituate), as they work to address local transportation problems. These towns have varied and important transportation needs. In addition, I am advocating for proposed work in greenhouse gas reduction.

I ask that the MPO select the following planning studies for funding in the FFY 2017 UPWP:

• Low Cost Improvements to Express-Highway Bottlenecks - The Braintree Split is a major interchange that is crippled daily by extreme congestion. Many South Shore residents are tied up daily at this bottleneck. They suffer extended travel times and unsafe roadway conditions. The Braintree Split is also one of the high priority locations identified in the MPO's Long Range Transportation Plan. I ask that the MPO fund this study and give attention to the Braintree Split.

• Addressing Safety, Mobility, and Access on Subregional Priority Roadways - Earlier versions of this study have focused on priority needs in MAPC's South Shore Coalition, and the Coalition and municipalities have greatly appreciated this work. These studies typically identify implementable, complete streets solutions that are well-received by municipalities. I support continuing this series of studies and hope that locations in the South Shore Coalition might be considered again as an area of focus.

• Addressing Priority Corridors from the Long-Range Transportation Plan Needs Assessment - This study could help address the serious traffic problems on the South Shore's heavily congested arterials; Route 3A, Route 228, Route 53, and Route 18. Please include it in the UPWP.

• Study of Promisinq GHG-Reductian Strategies - I heartily support the MPO's ongoing work to identify effective steps to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs).

The outcomes of this work are essential to having real impact in slowing the advance of climate change and related sea-level rise - a real threat to South Shore communities. This study can guide the MPO and the state to do our part to help minimize the devastating effects of inaction or ineffective action in reducing GHGs produced by transportation.

I ask that the MPO fund the ongoing technical analysis programs: Bicycle/Pedestrian Support Activities; Regional Transit Service Planning Technical Support; and the Community Transportation Technical Assistance Program. These programs provide essential guidance and input to local officials in support of their initiatives to improve mobility through better bicycle and pedestrian facilities and new, locally operated bus transit. These programs are an effective way of sharing the MPO's expertise with local officials who are aiming to make improvements. I support this ongoing work and, if they are funded, will work to raise awareness about them within the South Shore.

MAPC,as the MPO's Regional Land-Use Planning Agency, has served the South Shore extremely well. By convening the cities and towns as the South Shore Coalition, MAPChas set up a cooperative forum for collaboration and information sharing. I support their ongoing work as proposed.

For the FFY 2018 UPWP, I suggest planning for more commuter boat service and for intra-community shuttle buses, including shuttle buses to commuter boats and/or commuter rail.

Thank you again for the opportunity to comment on the Draft FFY 2017 UPWP.

Very truly yours, ~

Joan Meschino