Governor Baker Files $9.7 Billion Transportation Bond Bill
At a press conference next to a highway overpass in Worcester on Wednesday, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker announced that his administration had filed a $9.7 billion transportation bond bill for the legislature’s consideration.
The bill would include billions of dollars in funding to help Massachusetts leverage increased federal funds from the recently-passed Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.
At the press conference, Gov. Baker said that there were dozens of transportation infrastructure projects, representing about $1 billion in spending, that could get started as early as this year, if the legislature approves his administration’s proposed bond package quickly.
To illustrate that point, Baker offered a quick primer on how the Commonwealth actually pays for federally-funded transportation projects.
“To actually put this stuff in the ground, we need to get authorization from the legislature not just for the state’s share of this, but for the entire price of every project, including the federal piece,” said Gov. Baker. “Because the way this works, is the state authorizes, the state moves forward, the state spends, and the federal government reimburses. So it’s critical for us to get this legislation passed as quickly as we possibly can to enable us to move forward aggressively in putting this $9.7 billion series of projects to work throughout Massachusetts over the next 5 years.”
According to a press release from the Governor’s office, the bond bill includes:
- $2.8 billion to increase highway and transit formula funding, to leverage increased funding levels for federally-funded programs under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL)
- $3.3 billion to fund MassDOT and MBTA capital projects through 2026, including:
- $55 million in additional authorization to support municipal infrastructure projects, including “complete streets” programs and MassDOT’s “Shared Streets and Spaces” program
- $400 million for the MBTA to continue to invest in the modernization of its infrastructure and vehicles
- $830 million to support the purchase of a new fleet of “Type 10” MBTA Green Line trains
- $3.6 billion to let MassDOT pursue federal discretionary and competitive grants, like the federal RAISE program. “This is based on our expectation that we could receive between $2 and $3 billion in discretionary grants over the next 5 years under the programs in the BIL,” explained MassDOT Secretary Jamey Tesler on Wednesday.