As a member of Boston’s business community for 24 years, I have been excited to see our state’s transformation into a hub for innovation that has attracted top-tier companies and workers from around the globe. While I remain optimistic about our economy’s future, I join many in being concerned about our ability to sustain its growth. What Shirley Leung says in her recent column (“More. Faster.” Business, Oct. 17) is true: “Like transportation, the housing crisis has also reached a tipping point.” Businesses across the Commonwealth are already being hurt by the lack of affordable housing, and if we don’t address the crisis, we’ll jeopardize our state’s bright future.
Massachusetts is ranked regularly as one of the most expensive states to live in, and our astronomically high rents and home prices are driving away the workforce our growing economy depends on to succeed. Businesses in both rural and urban communities are losing out on top talent — recent graduates and longtime employees alike — who are getting priced out of living here and taking jobs in neighboring states with lower living costs. Traffic congestion, already a drag on our economy, is only being exacerbated by the increased number of workers forced to endure lengthy commutes because they can’t afford to live where they work.
For the sake of our economy and the workers who advance it, we need to remove the barriers to creating new and affordable housing options. Changing the zoning laws to make it easier for communities to move ahead with new projects would be a critical step in those efforts.
The writer is a vice president at Boston Capital.