The Massachusetts State Senate on Thursday passed a bill that includes $350 million in bond authorizations for transportation needs across the state, including $200 million for the state’s Chapter 90 program, which provides municipalities with a reliable funding source for transportation-related improvements, including road and bridge repairs.
“This legislation will maintain and improve our state’s infrastructure, ensure that residents have safe and reliable transportation options, and support sustainable, regionally equitable economic development in communities across the Commonwealth,” said Senate President Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland). “I’d like to thank Senator Crighton for his work in crafting this legislation, Senator Kennedy for his help in advancing it, and all of my Senate colleagues for working collaboratively to ensure the transportation needs of our cities and towns are addressed in a regionally equitable manner.”
"Our transportation system is the backbone of our Commonwealth, connecting us to our jobs, families, and communities," said Senator Brendan P. Crighton (D-Lynn), Chair of the Senate Committee on Transportation. "This investment is not just an investment in infrastructure, but an investment in the future of our Commonwealth, enabling our cities and towns to make the necessary improvements to promote efficient and safe travel for all."
“I’m pleased to see this crucial investment in the Commonwealth’s roads and bridges move towards fruition,” said Senator Edward J. Kennedy (D-Lowell), Chair of the Senate Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets. “The cities and towns of Massachusetts depend on this necessary funding to maintain their transportation infrastructure.”
This legislation also authorizes $150 million in programs that will assist municipalities with various transportation-related projects. This includes $25 million for each of the following:
the municipal small bridge program;
the complete streets program;
a bus transit infrastructure program;
grants to increase access to mass transit and commuter rail stations;
· grants for municipalities and regional transit authorities to purchase electric vehicles and the infrastructure needed to support them;
· and new funding dedicated to additional transportation support based on road milage, which is particularly helpful for rural communities.
“By dedicating a $25 million fund to rural communities for road and culvert work, the Senate has once again demonstrated a commitment to regional equity,” said Senator Jo Comerford (D-Northampton). “Rural towns do not have large municipal budgets like some Commonwealth cities, yet with much smaller municipal budgets, they have been expected to maintain many hundreds more miles of roads than their urban counterparts. They have culverts in need of repair and a significant number of gravel and dirt roads. This rural program recognizes and begins to address these pressing, inequitable realities for rural communities and I'm deeply grateful.”
“Today's bill includes $25 million that is intended to help our most rural communities that are consistently struggling to keep afloat financially,” said Senator Paul W. Mark (D-Becket). “In a district of 57 cities and towns, 54 of which have populations of fewer than 10,000 people, and in some cases communities as small as 120 residents, we live firsthand every day how difficult it can be to undertake road repairs, invest in new equipment, or have our voice heard in Boston. I am grateful to the Senate President, the Chair of Ways and Means, and the Chair of Transportation for the time they have taken to visit rural communities in my district, work collaboratively with me and our rural caucus members, and deliver for our small towns in a way that will produce tangible benefits and results this calendar year.”
A different version having previously been passed in the House of Representatives, the two chambers will now reconcile differences before sending the bill to the Governor’s desk.