By Bob Katzen
The House 157-0, Senate 39-0, approved and sent to Gov. Maura Healey a House-Senate conference committee version of a bill that includes authorizing $200 million in one-time funding for the maintenance and repair of local roads and bridges in cities and towns across the state. The $375 million package, a bond bill under which the funding would be borrowed by the state through the sale of bonds, also includes $175 million for several transportation-related grant programs.
The House and Senate had approved different versions of the package and this compromise version was drafted by a 6-member conference committee.
The programs funded by the $175 million include the municipal small bridge program; the complete streets program; a bus transit infrastructure program; and grants for municipalities to purchase electric vehicles and the infrastructure needed to support them.
“This … bill secures historical levels of funding for our municipal roads, bridges and sidewalks,” said Sen. Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn), Senate Chair of the Committee on Transportation. “In addition to our annual authorization, we have added additional funding for various transportation programs, from bridge repair to improving access to mass transit. No matter how you get around, this funding will benefit transportation systems in every region of the commonwealth.”
“Providing funding for critical infrastructure projects through investments in the commonwealth’s public transportation, roads, and bridges is one of the most important responsibilities that we have as members of the Legislature,” said House Speaker Ron Mariano (D-Quincy). “I’m proud of the support for regional infrastructure that this legislation provides, and of the funding that it allocates for the purchasing of electric vehicles by transit authorities.”
“The passage is good news for cities and towns, and with the changes this year, especially for rural communities,” said Sen. John Keenan (D-Quincy). “I hope that in the future we will pass a two-year authorization so that municipalities will have access to these essential funds in a more timely manner, allowing them to better plan work on their roads and bridges.”
“Our communities rely so heavily on Chapter 90 funding to make critical transportation improvement projects,” said Rep. Mike Finn (D-West Springfield), House Chair of the Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets. “Today’s funding ensures our roads remain safe and efficient for the travel of people and commerce. Additionally, with extra resources being made available through competitive application grant programs, the legislative funding is now forward looking in striving to meet broad ranges of municipal needs.”
(A “Yes” vote is for the $375 million package.)
Rep. Christine Barber Yes Rep. Mike Connolly Yes Rep. Paul Donato Yes Rep. Erika Uyterhoeven Yes Sen. Patricia Jehlen Yes