Mass Senate Passes $10.84 Billion Transportation Infrastructure Bond Bill

In complete transparency, the following press release was given to the SOURCE media from the Presidency of the Senate.

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BOSTON – The Massachusetts State Senate on Thursday, July 14, passed legislation authorizing more than $10.84 billion in bonds for a wide range of transportation infrastructure projects and initiatives aimed at making the more modern, safe, green and accessible Commonwealth transport system.

A Transportation Resources and Climate Act of Massachusettsalso known as MassTRACensures that Massachusetts is well positioned to compete for federal grant opportunities, particularly dollars available from the federal bipartisan government Infrastructure Investment and Employment Act.

“While repairs to our transport infrastructure will benefit many communities across the Commonwealth, this Bill goes much further than just repairs, but will instead actively transform our infrastructure to be more modern, environmentally sustainable and regionally equitable,” Senate Speaker Karen E. Spilka (D-Ashland) said. “Support for electric vehicles, regional transportation authorities, low-income transit fares, expanded east-west connectivity, and many other initiatives included in this bill will bring benefits to residents. , visitors and businesses in Massachusetts. I want to thank Senator Crighton for quickly and skillfully stepping into the role of transportation chair and for working with Senators Rodrigues and Collins and so many senators to produce this comprehensive legislation.

“Today’s adoption of this multi-pronged $10.84 billion transport infrastructure investment package builds on our long-standing commitment to ensuring that the Commonwealth transport system is more fair, reliable, safe and modern,” said Sen. Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport), chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. “Going far beyond roads and bridges, the Senate Transportation Mandate Bill will boost our economy, increase accessibility for our residents, support local businesses, create jobs and stimulate economies in all corners of our Commonwealth. Crucially, it also invests in mass transit, electric vehicle charging infrastructure, regional transport authorities as well as emission-free transport options – such as cycling, walking and multimodal investments – which are essential solutions. to help us meet our climate challenges and achieve our 2050 net zero goals. I want to thank Senator Crighton for her leadership and hard work on all things transportation, Senator Collins for her significant contributions, and the Speaker of the Senate for her vision, leadership, and ongoing guidance.

“This transportation bond bill provides Massachusetts with the key to unlocking first-of-its-kind federal funding through the bipartisan Infrastructure Act,” said Sen. Brendan Crighton (D-Lynn), President of the Senate of Joint Transportation Committee. “Through these combined state and federal investments, we will be able to complete vital work on our highways, roads, bridges and public transport systems, improving mobility for all Commonwealth residents.”

“This legislation represents a collaborative effort focused on transportation safety, accessibility and sustainability in a fiscally responsible manner,” said Sen. Nick Collins (D-Boston), Senate Chairman of the Joint Committee on Bail Bonds. , capital expenditure and government assets. “Through smart planning and responsible fiscal management, not only are we positioning our state to remain competitive and prosperous post-pandemic, but we are able to do so in a way that continues to fetch a better rate for the taxpayer.”

The MassTRAC The Bill invests billions of dollars in improving, maintaining and upgrading Commonwealth bridges, roads and other critical infrastructure, including pavements, curbs, parking bays and airport improvements . The legislation also takes crucial steps to make the state’s transportation system more environmentally sustainable and climate-resilient by investing in reduced emissions, low- or zero-emission vehicles for regional transportation authorities ( RTA), climate adaptations for Massachusetts highways, and support for multimodal transportation. transport such as cycle paths along the roads.

Relying on the Driving actpassed by the Senate in April of this year, the MassTRAC The bill increases support for electric vehicles for personal, commercial and government use, as well as electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

The breakdown of surety authorizations included in the invoice is as follows:

  • $3.5 billion for discretionary federal grant projects
  • $2.8 billion for federal road network projects
  • $1.375 billion for Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) modernization
  • $1.27 billion for non-federally funded roads and bridges
  • $407.7 million for local and regional transportation projects
  • $400 million for MBTA security projects
  • $275 million for the East-West rail project
  • $225 million for emissions reduction initiatives, including $50 million to support access to electric vehicle charging infrastructure
  • $114 million for airport improvements
  • $85 million for state numbered highway pavement improvements
  • $82 million for the Industrial Rail Access Program
  • $64.9 million for capital projects of regional transport authorities (RTA)
  • $25.5 million for the mobility assistance program
  • $25 million for pavement improvements on municipal roads
  • $20 million for the Complete Streets program
  • $10 million for the Public Realm Improvement Program
  • $1 million for local and regional transportation projects

The legislation marks another step toward implementing east-west passenger rail in Massachusetts. In addition to the more than a quarter of a billion dollars being granted for the project itself, this legislation creates a commission to investigate and report on the creation of an east-west passenger rail authority. To promote regional equity and smart, sustainable funding for the transportation system, the bill creates a mobility commission to investigate, study, and make recommendations on the development of transportation pricing. , regionally fair road pricing and congestion pricing.

In addition to $1.375 billion for MBTA modernization, the bill authorizes $400 million for MBTA safety projects and directs the MBTA to create and update safety improvement plans annually.

During the debate, several notable amendments were adopted. Significantly, an amendment would create a low-income fare program to provide free or reduced transit fares to eligible passengers. Another amendment would require the MBTA to develop and implement short-, medium-, and long-term plans to electrify the commuter rail fleet. Finally, an amendment was passed to provide regulatory oversight of e-bikes, or e-bikes, to boost their adoption.

Since a version of this legislation has already passed the House of Representatives, a conference committee will now be appointed to reconcile the differences between the versions of this bill.

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