September 27, 2021

Representative Howitt supports enactment of Chapter 90 bond bill

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Will provide Seekonk with $581,287 in road and bridge funding; Rehoboth with $611,600 in road and bridge funding

Boston – The House and Senate recently finalized a Chapter 90 bond bill that will provide Seekonk with $581,287, along with Rehoboth receiving $611,600 in road and bridge funding for Fiscal Year 2022, according to State Representative Steven Howitt (R-Seekonk).

Representative Howitt said that in addition to providing for $200 million in statewide Chapter 90 spending, the bond bill authorizes $150 million in additional funding for six transit-related municipal grant programs. The final bill – which combines elements of two earlier versions of the bill that passed the House of Representatives on June 22 and the Senate on July 1 – was enacted on July 15 by a vote of 160-0 in the House and 40-0 in the Senate.

Established by the Legislature in 1973, the Chapter 90 program uses a distribution formula based on a community’s population, employment and total road miles to allocate funding to cities and towns on an annual basis. It is a 100 percent reimbursable program that provides state funding assistance to municipalities for capital improvements such as highway construction, preservation and improvement projects, including road resurfacing and related work such as sidewalks, traffic control measures, and roadside drainage.

Representative Howitt said the bond authorization will help cities and towns pay for their local transportation infrastructure priorities and will provide additional financial support for municipalities by expanding six state grant programs. Specifically, the bill increases funding for the municipal small bridge grant program – which helps fund construction, repairs and improvements for non-federally aided bridges – from $70 million to $95 million. It also doubles funding from $25 million to $50 million for a program to assist municipalities and regional transit authorities with the purchase of electric vehicles and charging stations, and for grant programs to help municipalities:

•address localized, operationally influenced bottlenecks that negatively impact traffic flow;

•implement transit-supportive infrastructure, such as dedicated bus lanes and signal prioritization;

•prioritize and enhance mass transit by bus; and

•increase access to mass transit and commuter rail stations.

The final bill also retains language previously inserted by the House that stipulates funds received through the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery Fund may “be used for maintenance or pay-go funded building of transportation infrastructure, including roads.”

Governor Charlie Baker has until July 25 to review and sign the bond bill.

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