A dominant economic story in recent years – affordable housing – took the spotlight, as Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced an “unprecedented” $500 Million investment over the next five years. This would represent five times current spending.
Calling it “one of the most progressive housing policies in America”, Walsh’s plan is intended to help add new housing units to the city’s stock in order to stabilize rising prices and protect “the most vulnerable to the middle class”. Walsh plans to fund the initiative through the sale of the Lafayette Garage in downtown Boston as well as the proposed transfer tax, approved by City leaders currently awaiting passage by Commonwealth legislators on Beacon Hill.
Walsh also is calling on the Boston’s business leaders to explore the creation of an acquisition fund to support the purchase and development of vacant and/or underutilized parcels. Walsh previously touched on this idea at a Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce meeting last year.
Walsh also touched on education, public safety, and infrastructure needs. The big topic of the moment – transportation – received copious attention from the Mayor. While touting progress that has been made on improving the public transit system after the cadre of calamities experienced last year, Walsh called for more, namely representation. He would like Boston to have a seat on the MBTA advisory board. Additionally, he called for increased Commuter Rail service, particularly on the Fairmont line to improve service to Hyde Park and Roxbury – a needed boon to development in those neighborhoods.
Our Mayor does not lack for vision. His proposals, while bold, will yield a Boston poised to grow. For all Bostonians.