FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Aaron Vega or Pat Duffy
Legislature Sends Transportation Bond Bill to Governor
Reaffirms Commitment to Investing in Local Aid and Sustainable Transportation
(BOSTON) – State Representative Aaron Vega (D – 5th Hampden) joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts Legislature today to enact a $12.766 billion transportation finance bill to bolster the state’s transportation systems, improve existing infrastructure and assist Massachusetts’ communities in funding local projects.
The bond bill authorizes $300 million in Chapter 90 funding to help municipalities complete road, bridge and infrastructure improvement projects, and requires earlier notification of funding levels so cities and towns can prepare appropriately. This marks the eighth consecutive year that the Legislature has either raised or level-funded Chapter 90.
“I’m pleased to see the bill move forward,” said Vega. “The construction season has begun and there are crucial infrastructure projects here in Holyoke awaiting these funds.”
In Holyoke, the bond bill includes funding for the second phase of the Canalwalk construction which will include a pedestrian bridge across the second-level canal. In addition, there is funding for complete street construction and much-needed bridge repair. (The funding for the completion of the repair of the Willimansett Bridge spanning the Connecticut River from Holyoke to Chicopee is already in place.)
“The passage of this bill will have an immediate effect on Holyoke, as it will allow work on the Canalwalk to break ground in the upcoming weeks,” said Holyoke’s Director of Planning and Economic Development Marcos Marrero. “At the same time, the inclusion of funds for a future expansion of passenger rail service in Western Mass, as well as for complete streets, bodes well for the City’s infrastructure planning going forward.”
“Transportation improvements and Chapter 90 funds are essential to providing stability and spurring economic growth in Massachusetts,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said. “That growth starts on the local level which is why the House is an unyielding champion of municipalities across the state. The funding in this bill builds upon last year’s transportation finance legislation which is resulting in sustainable, lasting changes. I thank my colleagues in the House, Senate President Murray and the conferees for their work on this crucial legislation.”
“The continued success of Massachusetts’ economy relies on our commitment to a strong transportation system,” Senate President Therese Murray (D-Plymouth) said. “This transportation bond bill goes a long way in meeting many of the Commonwealth’s transportation needs including expanding rail access for more regions. Our towns and cities depend on these funds to make critical reforms to their infrastructure and support new projects, and this bill will create many new job opportunities which is critical to promoting economic development across the entire state.”
“I’m pleased that the House was able to act in a timely matter on this legislation that will directly address important unmet transportation needs throughout the state and will benefit Massachusetts economically in the decades to come.” said Representative William Straus (D-Mattapoisett), House Chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation.
The bill includes numerous provisions designed to result in savings and efficiency improvements including the creation of a special Commission to study metropolitan planning organizations and advise on potential ways to simplify and streamline the federally-mandated project selection process.
The bill now goes to the Governor for his consideration.