Senate Passes Transportation Bond Bill

The Senate on Thursday passed a bill authorizing $13 billion in capital spending over the next five years to fund improvements to the Commonwealth’s transportation system, Senator Patricia Jehlen announced.

This crucial legislative package provides funding authorization for key projects across the state. Most notably, the bill includes authorization of $1.3 billion in state funding for the GLX, enough to cover the entire anticipated price tag of the project up to College Avenue.

“This is an enormous step in the right direction,’ Said Senator Jehlen. “After over a decade of work by residents, advocates, elected officials and MassDOT staff, we are now significantly closer to the day when MBTA Green Line trains will open their doors to riders in Somerville and Medford.”

The Senate also authorized $2,750,000 for traffic signal and roadway improvements in Medford Square and at the intersection of Route 16 and Main St and $7,500,000 for a parking garage in Medford Square

The bill includes $1.5 billion in spending over the next five years for the Chapter 90 program to fund local projects such as rebuilding and repairing roads and bridges and requires municipalities to be notified of their Chapter 90 appropriation before March 1st of each year. The state would save an estimated $518 million by shortening the duration of Chapter 90 bond from 30 to 20 years.

To support the Complete Streets Program, the bill authorizes $50 million in spending and creates a grant program to provide funding to municipalities that promote all modes of transportation, including walking, cycling, public transportation, automobiles and freight.

For the purposes of removing snow and ice, the bill allows the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to spend $50 million over their available funds in both fiscal years 2014 and 2015.

The capital plan also includes:

– $1.9 billion for interstate/non-interstate federal highways, which is approximately 80 percent federally reimbursable;

– $2.2 billion for non-federally aided roads and bridges;

– $125 million for the Department of Conservation and Recreation for repairs, improvements, construction of parkways and related equipment;

– $350 million for transportation facilities and rolling stock for improvements to facilities, urban development plans and the purchase and rehabilitation of rolling stock;

– $24 million for the mobility assistance program and regional intercity bus and intermodal services;

– $80 million for the statewide rail access program;

– $2.5 billion for heavy and light rail and bus projects to fund state of good repair projects, including on the Red, Orange and Green line cars;

– $55 million for the airport improvement program to allow for paving runways and upgrades;

– $63 million for Registry of Motor Vehicles modernization;

– $175 million for Springfield-Worcester, Boston-Cape Cod and Pittsfield-NYC rail projects;

– $30 million for service improvements to the Knowledge Corridor Rail Line; and,

– $146.5 million for information technology at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

The Senate and House will now produce a compromise bill for final passage and consideration of the governor.

- Information from State Senator Pat Jehlen’s office

This entry was posted on Monday, March 10th, 2014 at 3:21 pm and is filed under State House News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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