By Bob Katzen
The House 148-2, Senate 37-0, approved a bond bill allowing the state to borrow up to $2.2 billion for climate change adaptation, environmental and natural resource protection and investment in recreational assets.
The package includes earmarks for hundreds of millions of dollars for hundreds of projects in legislators’ districts across the state — many of which will never be funded. The Baker administration ultimately decides which projects are affordable and actually get funded but it cannot fund most of them because the governor’s office is also required to adhere to the state’s annual bond borrowing cap.
Provisions include $105 million for dam and flood control projects; $160 million for roads and bridges; $60 million for the Massachusetts Clean Water Trust to improve water by providing low-interest loans to municipalities; $45 million for hazardous waste cleanup; and $15 million for the Electric Vehicle Incentive Program that gives grants to cities and towns, state agencies, and state universities to purchase electric vehicles and install charging station.
“We’ve come out with a strong bond bill that funds necessary environmental investments across the state, including an agricultural estate tax credit, which aims to ensure a thriving agricultural economy here in Massachusetts, and investments in protecting our cities and towns,” said Rep. “Smitty” Pignatelli (D-Lenox), chairman of the Committee on Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture. “This bond bill aims to preserve our land and restore dams and seawalls, which as we know, have suffered severe damage from storms over the years. I believe these efforts will have a lasting impact throughout the commonwealth.”
Neither of the two opponents of the bill responded to Beacon Hill Roll Call’s request for a statement from them.