The legislation includes a request to authorize funding for a small bridge program and a separate authorization request for the federal aid highway program.
The Baker-Polito Administration filed “An Act Financing Improvements to Municipal Roads and Bridges” that included $200 million for local transportation infrastructure improvements across the Commonwealth, otherwise known as Chapter 90 funds. Additionally, this legislation includes a request to authorize funding for a small bridge program and a separate authorization request for the federal aid highway program.
“We are pleased to file $200 million this year to support local officials and are committed to maintaining the same funding level for three years to support long term planning and economic growth,” said Gov. Charlie Baker. “Every city and town depends on access to these flexible transportation funds and these investments will ensure municipal improvements remain front and center.”
Chapter 90 funding is issued by municipality and predetermined by a formula that factors in a municipality's population, road miles and employment.
“Our partners at the local level understand best that building stronger communities starts with making the short and long-term improvements to guarantee a reliable transportation network,” said Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. “We look forward to the legislature's thoughtful review and continued efforts to place our cities and towns at the forefront.”
Chapter 90 reimburses cities and towns for costs incurred for eligible transportation projects. Cities and towns must submit receipts to the MassDOT highway division district in which they are located which verifies that the expenditures qualify for reimbursement under Chapter 90. The highway districts in turn submit these receipts to the Department of Transportation's fiscal department which facilitates the reimbursements to cities and towns.
Part of the legislation includes a request to authorize $50 million for a five-year small bridge program. The funding will support approximately 1,300 bridges on municipal roads across Massachusetts that span lengths between 10 to 20 ft. (3 to 6 m). The new program will target small bridge projects that are not eligible for federal aid under existing bridge replacement or rehabilitation programs, and are a high risk for full or partial closure in the near future due to their present condition.
Another part of the bill includes a $750 million authorization request for the federal aid highway program. While the authorization request must be for the full $750 million, the Commonwealth will be responsible for $135 million of that spending.
Also included in “An Act Financing Improvements to Municipal Roads and Bridges” are technical corrections to previously approved pieces of legislation, including a change that would bring bonds issued for the rail enhancement program in line with similar projects like the accelerated bridge program by making them exempt from the statutory debt limit.