Massachusetts deal provides $1.4 billion for transportation

By Keith Goble, Land Line state legislative editor | Friday, August 10, 2012

Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick signed a major bill into law Friday, Aug. 10, to move forward with a nearly $1.4 billion comprehensive transportation bond deal with a lot of specific projects, or earmarks, attached.

 “This is how we are strengthening our state’s economy and quality of life for the long term,” Patrick said in prepared remarks.

 Designed to help maintain and repair aging infrastructure around the state, the one-year plan includes funds to do work authorized in a five-year 2008 bond bill.

 The bonding bill – H4193 – allows the state to use $1.39 billion to be spent on roads, bridges and transit. More than 200 pet projects to benefit work in lawmakers’ home districts were also included.

 Specifically, the bill authorizes $685 million in borrowing, which will be matched by federal funds for state road, bridge, rail and regional transit work.

 Additional money is available through $200 million in funds to cities and towns that was authorized two months ago by state lawmakers.

 Sen. Thomas McGee, D-Lynn, said passage of the bill is a big step in the right direction. However, he urged lawmakers to continue to find ways to address the state’s long-term transportation infrastructure needs.

 “Transportation investment not only will keep our roads and bridges safe and reliable, but will also create jobs and promote economic activity,” stated McGee, who is Senate chairman of the Joint Committee on Transportation.

Despite the lofty price tag to improve infrastructure, the authority to borrow does not guarantee that work will be completed on all the identified projects. The governor will ultimately decide which projects can move forward within an annual bond cap and five-year capital plan.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Massachusetts, click here.

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