Acushnet, State Discuss Control of South Main Street
I am generally of the opinion that anything the state and the federal government can do, local government can do better, often at less cost to the taxpayers, too. That's why it piqued my interest recently to learn of a discussion underway about transferring control of South Main Street from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to the people of Acushnet.
First, I had no idea South Main Street was under state control. Wikipedia says, "A short, 2.8 mile (4.5 km) stretch of Route 105 passes through the northeast corner of town, both entering and exiting through Rochester. Otherwise, the town contains no state or federal highways."
I guess South Main Street doesn't fit the definition of a highway.
Acushnet Town Clerk Pamela Labonte told me there is an ongoing discussion about whether the town should take ownership of South Main Street. Some in town believe that by taking control of the roadway, town officials would have more control over such things as regulating truck traffic and signage placement.
Labonte said the state is trying to "offload" South Main Street on the town and that some don't see the benefit of taking control of the street. There are questions about whether Acushnet taxpayers would be on the hook for purchasing South Main Street from the state and whether the Commonwealth would pave it and upgrade sidewalks before handing off control to the town.
During a meeting last fall, the Select Board agreed to enter into discussions with the Massachusetts Highway Department about the state relinquishing control of South Main Street and what such a move might entail.
Labonte said it could take up to five years for an agreement to be finalized.
South Main Street runs from Acushnet Town Hall southerly to the Fairhaven line.