Much discussion about an exit from the Mass. Turnpike seems to be centered around fixing a problem with truck traffic in Westfield. The issue of congestion need to be solved in Westfield and not foisted on the hill towns. An exit from the pike on Route 20, four to five miles west of downtown Westfield would solve the problem and give access to the pike for residents on the west side of town as well as people living in the hill towns. This would be a far more cost effective way to spend tax dollars. The road and bridge infrastructure in the hill towns cannot support additional truck traffic. The budgets of these small towns are already strapped, and the state has shown little inclination to help repair the roads and bridges that are now crumbling.
The planners from the state could serve those of us in the Berkshires by making rail travel available, promoting our natural resource venues and working with local residents and businesses in a sustainable and more durable manner. We have hiking, skiing, canoeing, camping, as well as theater, music and restaurants all set out in a beautiful landscape. An exit with its incumbent liabilities will destroy the very things that make our rural towns a destination point for many, and a home for those of us who live here.
Besides building yet another highway, let’s think about working with what and who we have here in the Berkshires and a more common sense approach to spending our tax dollars.
Sincerely, Neil Toomey, Becket, MA