Representative Steven Howitt supports $350M municipal transportation infrastructure bond authorization
Boston – State Representative Steven Howitt (R-Seekonk) is pleased to announce that the House and Senate have reached agreement on a $350 million bond bill to assist cities and towns with their local transportation infrastructure needs.
House Bill 4638, An Act financing improvements to municipal roads and bridges, will provide communities with $200 million to help maintain local roads and bridges under the state’s Chapter 90 program for Fiscal Year 2023, including $551,445 for Norton, $611,127 for Rehoboth, $587,853 for Seekonk and $567,505 for Swansea. The bill also includes $150 million in additional funding for several transportation-related municipal grant programs.
The bond bill was enacted by the House on a vote of 155-0 on June 16 and by the Senate on a vote of 38-0 the same day. It is now before Governor Charlie Baker for his review and signature.
Representative Howitt said that in addition to the Chapter 90 funding, the House and Senate have approved funding increases for five state grant programs that communities can apply to for additional transportation assistance. House Bill 4638 provides for:
• a $40 million increase for the construction, reconstruction, resurfacing, repair and improvement of pavement and surface conditions on non-federally aided roadways;
• a $30 million increase in the municipal small bridge program, which supports the design, engineering, construction, preservation, reconstruction and repair of, or improvements to, non-federally aided bridges;
• a $30 million increase for the Complete Streets Program, which provides technical assistance and construction funding to eligible municipalities seeking to provide safe and accessible travel mode options for people of all ages and abilities;
• a $25 million increase for grants to municipalities for the prioritization and enhancement of mass transit by bus; and
• a $25 million increase for grants to municipalities to expand access to mass transit and commuter rail stations.
Established in 1973, the Chapter 90 program allocates funding annually to all 351 Massachusetts cities and towns, using a formula that takes into account the weighted average of a community’s local road mileage (58.33%), population (20.83%) and employment (20.83%). Funding is provided on a reimbursable basis, with cities and towns paying up-front for eligible expenses before receiving compensation from the state.
Representative Howitt noted that Chapter 90 funding can be used for a variety of construction purposes, including road resurfacing, sidewalk repairs, direction and warning signs, traffic signals, crosswalks, and street lighting. Other eligible construction projects include structural work on bridges, culverts, footbridges and pedestrian bridges, and retaining walls.
Communities can also use Chapter 90 funding for the purchase or long-term lease of certain road-building equipment specifically related to a Chapter 90 project, such as backhoes, catch basin cleaners, concrete mixers, excavators and pavers. Certain consultant services are also eligible for Chapter 90 reimbursement, including civil engineering, land surveying services and environmental permitting support, as well as miscellaneous expenses such as salt storage sheds and garages for storing road building equipment.
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