Following a week-long budget process at the State House, Representative Dylan Fernandes secured $225,000 in local aid.
During Health and Human Services negotiations, Fernandes sheparded an amendment totaling $50,000 to fund the Transportation Access Program (TAP), which ensures access to medical care and substance recovery programs for residents of Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Funds for TAP are administered through Martha’s Vineyard Community Services and cover the cost of ferries, gas, bus fares, and necessary lodging to alleviate the financial burden and stress of travelling off-Island for healthcare.
“As islanders, Vineyard and Nantucket residents face geographical barriers to healthcare which can burden families with additional costs to getting the care they need,” said Fernandes. “Financial insecurity should never prevent someone from accessing treatment and this fund connects our most vulnerable residents with vital healthcare services.”
Fernandes also secured $175,000 of funding for shellfish propagation in Barnstable, Dukes, and Nantucket counties. The practice of shellfish propagation not only boosts the local blue economy, offering much needed support for local fishermen, but also has the added benefit of improving water quality, as the shellfish remove nitrogen and other impurities from local waters.
In three years, Fernandes has secured $550,000 in shellfish propagation for the region. “It is important that we protect both the health of our residents and our environment and natural ecosystems. It’s an honor to continue to secure this significant $175,000 appropriation for our local communities,” said Fernandes.
The budget now moves over to the senate for further deliberation.