By Bob Katzen
The House in March and the Senate in early June, approved proposals that included $300 million in Chapter 90 funding for cities and towns for the maintenance, repair and improvement of local roads and bridges. The $300 million was $100 million more than the $200 million the state allocated last year.
The Senate version of the legislation also established a new seven-member MBTA Board of Directors to succeed the current Fiscal Management and Control Board. The MBTA Board of Directors would be responsible for governing and exercising the corporate powers of the MBTA. The Senate version differed from the House version which does not create a brand-new MBTA board but instead extends and expands the existing Fiscal and Management Control Board.
Last week, the House and Senate changed their minds and reached an agreement to reduce the road and bridge funding to $200 million and to keep the MBTA’s Fiscal and Management Control Board in place for another year.
“While I commit to my colleagues in this chamber to continue to work to ensure we’re spending appropriate amounts of money—and amounts of money we can spend without raising revenue—as I stated before, I think we can’t delay any longer,” said Senate Transportation Committee chair Sen. Joe Boncore (D-Winthrop). “We’ve asked municipalities to put off contracts for too long. This is far later than we’ve ever done a Chapter 90 bond authorization since I’ve been the chairman.”