For Immediate Release: 7-15-22
Contact: Peter Jasinski | email@example.com
Bill included language filed by Sen. Keenan tied to Commuter Rail expansion
BOSTON – The Massachusetts Senate on Thursday passed legislation authorizing more than $10 billion for a wide array of state-wide transportation infrastructure projects and initiatives. Communities in the Norfolk and Plymouth Senate District will benefit from the broad spending as well as from funding specifically for local projects.
“The funding and policy outlined in this bill will go a long way in improving how we move about the Commonwealth and throughout our local region. Whether we travel by road, bridge, waterway, bus, bike, subway, rail or on foot, every aspect of transportation will be impacted and improved upon by these new resources,” said Sen. Keenan.
Sen. Keenan filed amendments that were adopted which included $2 million for the City of Quincy, $1 million for the Town of Abington, $1 million for the Town of Braintree, $1 million for the Town of Holbrook, and $1 million for the Town of Rockland. If approved by the Governor, these funds will be made available to each community for projects selected by municipal officials. Sen. Keenan partnered with several colleagues who represent waterfront communities to designate $28 million for intercoastal ferry service to and from Boston and between various cities, including Quincy, Gloucester, Lynn, and Salem.
Statewide, the legislation invests billions of dollars in improving, maintaining, and modernizing the Commonwealth’s bridges, roads, and other critical infrastructure, including sidewalks, curbs, parking spaces, and airport improvements. The legislation also takes crucial steps to make the Commonwealth’s transportation system more environmentally sustainable and resilient to climate change by investing in emission reduction, low or no emission vehicles for Regional Transit Authorities, climate adaptations for Massachusetts roads, and multimodal transportation such as bike lanes alongside roads. The bill also increases support for electric vehicles for personal, commercial, and governmental use, as well as for electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
The breakdown of the bond authorizations included in the bill is as follows:
- $3.5 billion for discretionary federal grant projects
- $2.8 billion for federal highway systems projects
- $1.375 billion for Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority modernization
- $1.27 billion for non-federally aided roads and bridges
- $407.7 million for local and regional transportation projects
- $400 million for MBTA safety projects
- $275 million for the East-West rail project
- $225 million for emissions reduction initiatives, including $50 million to support access to electric vehicle charging infrastructure
- $114 million for airport improvements
- $85 million for state-numbered routes road pavement improvements
- $82 million for the industrial rail access program
- $64.9 million for Regional Transit Authorities’ capital projects
- $25.5 million for the mobility assistance program
- $25 million for municipal road pavement improvements
- $20 million for the Complete Streets program
- $10 million for the public realm improvement program
- $1 million for local and regional transportation projects
In addition to $1.375 billion for modernization of the MBTA, the bill also authorizes $400 million for MBTA safety projects and tasks the MBTA with creating and annually updating safety improvement plans.
The legislation also marks another step toward implementing East-West passenger rail in Massachusetts. In addition to the more than a quarter of a billion dollars that is granted for the project itself, this legislation creates a commission to investigate and report on creation of an East-West rail passenger authority. An amendment filed by Sen. Keenan and adopted by the Senate ensures that this commission will report on updated ridership projections along with the cost components included in the bill when it came before the Senate.
“To make informed decisions on this state-wide project, we need to have an accurate understanding of how many people this could help,” said Sen. Keenan.
To promote regional equity and smart, sustainable financing of the transportation system, the bill creates a mobility commission to investigate, study, and make recommendations on the development of regionally equitable transportation pricing, roadway pricing and congestion pricing. Sen. Keenan filed an amendment expanding responsibilities of the commission and worked successfully with colleagues to include these provisions in the final version of the bill. The amendment stipulates the commission will need to investigate how implementation of roadway and congestion pricing, as well as public transportation pricing, has worked in domestic and international jurisdictions outside Massachusetts.
Several notable amendments adopted to the bill included one that would create a low-income fare program to provide free or discounted transit fares to qualifying riders; another that would require the MBTA to develop and implement short-, medium-, and long-term plans for electrifying the commuter rail fleet; and one that would provide regulatory oversight for electronic bicycles, or e-bikes, to help spur more widespread use.
A conference committee will now be appointed to reconcile any differences between the versions of this bill and the version recently approved in the House before sending it to the Governor.