House Approves $12.7 Billion Transportation Finance Legislation Including $300 Million for Local Aid

State Representative Tom Stanley joined his colleagues in the Massachusetts House of Representatives on January 29 in approving a $12.7 billion bond bill to assist Massachusetts communities in paying for local transportation-related projects.

The bond bill authorizes $300 million in Chapter 90 funding to help cities and towns complete road, bridge and infrastructure improvement projects. This marks the eighth consecutive year that the House has either raised or level-funded Chapter 90. The legislation also includes a provision designating South Station the “Governor Michael S. Dukakis Transportation Center at South Station.”

“Chapter 90 funds are essential to providing stability and prompting economic growth in Massachusetts,” House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo said. “That growth starts on the local level which is why the House has been, and will continue to be, an unyielding champion of municipalities across the state. This bill provides cities and towns with the funds they so rightly deserve. I thank Chairman Straus and my colleagues for their work.”

“I’m pleased that this legislation authorizes an appropriation of $300 million for cities and towns through Chapter 90 and also funds a variety of important large-scale transportation projects throughout the state,” said Representative William Straus (D-Mattapoisett), House Chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation. “This bill demonstrates a continued financial commitment by the House of Representatives to pay for all modes of transportation in Massachusetts including roads, bridge repairs, new trains, improvements to local airports, and major transportation infrastructure projects. An accessible and modern transportation system is essential for economic growth.”

“Speaker DeLeo’s support for $300 million for road repairs in our cities and towns reflects the House’s continued commitment to the needs of local communities,” said Representative Antonio F.D. Cabral (D-New Bedford), Chairman of the Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets.

“The Transportation Bond Bill offers many opportunities for the City of Waltham,” said Representative Tom Stanley. “In addition to the increase of Ch.90 funds, the bill also includes $700,000 for a Master Plan traffic study which will give the City comprehensive guidance and instruction on how to address ongoing and long-term traffic issues. Improving traffic conditions in the city is essential to reducing our carbon footprint on the environment, helping local businesses grow and attract customers, and enhancing the quality of life for residents.”

The legislation will improve and modernize the state’s infrastructure system through projects including:

• $2.97 billion for state-wide roadway and bridge projects;
• $350 million in investments for Regional Transit Authority improvements;

• $125 million to support the Department of Conservation in preserving and improving historic parkways;

• $2.5 billion for MBTA rail improvements including new Red and Orange Line cars.

Funding for the City of Waltham will benefit projects such as:

• $700,000 thousand for a Master Plan traffic study

The bill also includes $50 million in grant monies for the ‘complete streets’ project which supports investments that accommodate users including motorists, pedestrians, cyclists, and public transit.

After being engrossed by the Senate (3/6/14), the Transportation Bond Bill moves into Conference Committee.