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NEEDHAM, MA-Commercial real estate trade group Naiop Massachusetts is applauding a sobering assessment by the state Transportation Finance Committee that says Massachusetts needs tens of billions of dollars to repair its roadways and transit infrastructure. The “needs study” was issued Wednesday morning.

“It definitely can affect us competitively,” Naiop CEO David Begelfer tells GlobeSt.com. “We have to find a way to deal with this and do it very quickly.” The state has under-invested in its infrastructure for many years, Naiop charges, resulting in a heavy backlog of major and minor projects that must be tended to in a compressed time period. One estimate puts the price tag at $20 billion, a “staggering” amount Begelfer that stresses does not include money for new transit initiatives such as revamping Interstate 495 or creating the so-called “urban ring,” a long-desired network of public transit modes that would be developed through the core of metropolitan Boston.

The latter vision, for example, is seen as a key to the future of Boston and Cambridge in nurturing the life sciences sector because it would provide a direct route from the Longwood Medical Area to Boston University, Harvard, MIT and Cambridge’s bio-tech heavy Kendall Square. “That all has to be done, but is clearly in jeopardy when you have this line of repairs that need to be done first,” Begelfer says. “It is becoming a very long line.”

One popular culprit for the disinvestment has been the Hub’s much-maligned Big Dig project, with about one mile of roadway sucking some $15 billion out of the system. Beyond that, however, Begelfer says he fears the stigma from the Big Dig malfunctions headlined by the deadly ceiling collapse inside one tunnel last summer may make it even harder for legislators to find the funds needed given the jaded attitude of the public. “We need to take a hard look at how we do this work and how we price it and ways to improve the (quality) of the work, or people are not going to support it,” Begelfer adds. “This is not just about getting the money — we need to put the system back together.”

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