A long-awaited project for New Bedford is the subject of an announcement from Beacon hill.

State Senator Mark Montigny of New Bedford says Governor Baker has agreed to release funding for the construction of a new building at the UMass Dartmouth School of Marine Science and Technology in the South End.

Montigny had initially secured the funding years ago in a Higher Education bond bill.

"I earmarked millions of dollars many years ago for the project, but it looked like in the Governor's review that we might have a setback for the project, but the Governor has now approved and released the money," said Montigny.

Montigny says a ground-breaking will likely happen very soon. The New Bedford Democrat said the process was long and sometimes frustrating, but he's pleased to see the expansion finally moving forward. He says SMAST is a critical partner with the fishing industry, providing regulators with accurate stock assessments.

UMass Dartmouth Chancellor Divina Grossman said "this new facility will accelerate and expand the impact of the science conducted at SMAST. Rep. Antonio Cabral says the announcement means jobs for New Bedford and "is an important milestone for the city, as we continue to work to make New Bedford a world leader in marine research and technology."

The new building will be constructed at the site of the former Navel Reserve Center at Fort Rodman. The total cost of the project is $55 million.

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