MVC awarded $100,000 state grant

Funds will pay for a full-time regional transportation planner for Martha’s Vineyard.

Adam Turner, Martha's Vineyard Commission executive director, says the commission will work to maximize the time of a transportation engineer paid for with a state grant.

When the Baker-Polito administration announced $2 million in Community Compact Cabinet Grants on Tuesday, the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, and the Island, won big, with a $100,000 award for a 10-month regional transportation pilot program, which will be headed by a full-time transportation planner.

The goal of the pilot program is to increase transportation capacity Island-wide by adding additional expertise and increasing collaboration among the six Island towns, with forward-thinking financial management.

The Martha’s Vineyard’s Joint Transportation Committee worked with the MVC to corral the funds for the pilot program, which is intended to become a permanent resource for the Island Partnership — an entity comprised of the six Island towns, Vineyard Transit Authority (VTA), and the MVC.

With the funding, the Island Partnership will issue a request for proposals (RFP) to secure the engineering and design services of a Massachusetts Department of Transportation prequalified firm for the 10-month term. That firm will designate an engineer who will split his or her time between the Island and the firm’s offices. The MVC will provide support services and local knowledge.

“We’re going to play an active role in this,” MVC executive director Adam Turner told The Times. “We want to ensure the engineer’s time is maximized, and that all six Island towns benefit from this program.”

The engineer will prepare roadway design and right-of-way plans that will address the unique aspects of Island roads, including the Gordian knot known as Five Corners.

Plans will be based on input from town administrators, MVC staff, planning boards, and current traffic data. The engineer will also prepare field surveys and oversee contractors, as well as prepare cost estimates and technical reports.

Mr. Turner said that in the past, the Island has struggled to win state funding from the state Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) due to a lack of engineering and design in the proposals. “A dedicated engineer will be a huge asset in this process,” he said.

The Community Compact Cabinet was formed by the Baker-Polito administration in January 2015, and is chaired by Lt. Governor Karyn Polito.

The Efficiency and Regionalization Grant program was started by the administration in 2016 to help municipalities and school districts provide services more cost-effectively.

This round of funding will aid 92 communities and eight school districts statewide.

In addition to regional transportation, grants were awarded for regional economic development, regional wastewater, school district consolidation, and for regionalization and shared services.

The grant amounts ranged from $10,000 to $200,000.