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STATE CAPITOL BRIEFS – THURSDAY, OCT. 9, 2014

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE

WALSH DESCRIBES CLOSED BRIDGE AS “JUST GONE”

After the emergency shutdown of the bridge connecting to Boston’s social service facilities on Long Island, plans to rebuild the structure will be paid for by both the city and state. Mayor Martin Walsh closed the bridge Wednesday after city inspectors found massive structural damage. “The decision to close the bridge was made in an abundance of caution, following long-running concerns about the structural integrity of the bridge. The bridge is likely to remain closed for an extended period of time,” Walsh’s office said in a statement. City services are being offered to each of the residents of the island and each person evacuated from the island is accounted for, according to Walsh. “We’re going to have the exact same amount of beds in another facility or more beds if we can. I will not be putting homeless people on the street,” Walsh said. Walsh described the structure on the underside of the bridge as “just gone” and said the bridge is “too structurally devastated” to use. Gov. Deval Patrick, speaking at the same event Thursday, said the state agreed with Walsh to share the cost of redesigning the bridge not long after Walsh’s election. “The bid that’s going out to design the bridge is being paid half by the city, half by the state,” Walsh told reporters after the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Boston public market. MBTA ferries between Hingham and Boston as well as scores of recreational boaters travel under the bridge regularly. The estimated cost of the design work is $9 million, half of which will be paid for by MassDOT. Overall construction is expected to cost as much as $80 million, according to City Hall. – M. Deehan/SHNS

PATRICK: OLD COLLEAGUE LAUGHED OFF HIS BOTTLE BILL PLAN

Gov. Deval Patrick supports a ballot question expanding the bottle deposit law to water and sports drinks, an idea he has repeatedly filed during his seven-plus years as governor, but which has never cleared the Legislature. On Thursday, Patrick told a story during a WGBH radio interview that shed some light on the dynamics at work behind the proposal. Before he became governor, Patrick worked for Coca-Cola. He said that when he filed his bottle bill proposal one year, an old colleague from his days in the industry, but not from Coca-Cola, called him and asked what he was up to. Patrick said he told him, “I’ve done some homework. I understand it better." The governor said the colleague laughed and predicted Patrick would not be successful with his proposal “because we have more money than you do." Opponents of the ballot question, in a campaign fueled by bottling industry funding, have spent heavily on ads promoting additional consumer costs associated with an expanded bottle bill and touting curbside recycling as a better alternative. Recent polls show voters are leaning against Question 2, which is on the ballot Nov. 4. – M. Norton/SHNS

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