Governor Charlie Baker (R) (seen above) recently proposed a $9.7 billion bill designed to increase both transportation and environmental infrastructure funding, as well as provide state matching funds to compete for, unlock, and leverage federal formula and discretionary investments provided via the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act or IIJA, enacted in November 2021.
[Above photo via the Massachusetts Governor’s Office]
Entitled “An Act Relative to Massachusetts’s Transportation Resources and Climate” or “MassTRAC” for short, the bill proposes investing $6.2 billion in state funds to support core programs for highway, transit, and energy and environmental affairs.
That includes $2.8 billion in authorization related to the increased federal formula funding from the IIJA and $3.3 billion to support Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority capital programs through 2026.
The bill also includes $3.6 billion to support the pursuit of federal discretionary and competitive grant program funding by both MassDOT and MBTA.
“This infrastructure bill will support the investment of $9.7 billion in the Commonwealth’s roads, bridges, railways, transit agencies and environmental infrastructure,” Gov. Baker said in a statement. “This legislation will make a meaningful difference in the acceleration of projects that are set to receive federal funding and we look forward to working with the members of the legislature to pass this bill.”
“This bond bill supports our efforts to rebuild, modernize, and expand the capacity of the Commonwealth’s transportation system and aggressively pursue and compete for discretionary grant funding to advance major projects,” added Jamey Tesler, MassDOT secretary.
In a related effort, as part of Gov. Baker’s focus on developing more “clean transportation” options, his administration provided $5 million in grant funding on March 8 for 10 projects that will help disadvantaged communities address transportation needs and burdens with innovative and “clean” mobility solutions. State collaboration with local government, local businesses, and community partners.
That funding comes from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s new “Accelerating Clean Transportation for All” or “ACT4All” Program, supporting a range of projects including e-bike pilots, innovative low-carbon delivery models, broadening the base of electric vehicle consumers, and ride-for-hire electrification.
“Massachusetts remains committed to leading the way on taking climate action while also meeting the needs of our diverse communities throughout the state,” said Gov. Baker in a statement. “Projects receiving funding through the ACT4All Program will put us one step closer to a transportation system that not only combats climate change but does so in a way that works for all residents.”
Furthermore, those projects will also focus on serving a range of Massachusetts residents, including low-income, non-English speaking, and minority communities.
In addition to greenhouse gas emissions reductions, those 10 projects should also reduce local air and noise pollution, provide quality-of-life benefits, and offer economic development opportunities, Kathleen Theoharides, secretary of the state’s energy and environmental affairs department.
“The ACT4All Program serves as a great example of the Baker-Polito Administration’s commitment to reaching net zero emissions in an equitable manner,” she explained. “This program highlights that climate solutions in the transportation sector can help close the existing health and economic disparities that impact our most vulnerable communities.”
“The ACT4All Program was designed to foster community-led partnership, investing in solutions that will benefit our underserved communities,” added MassCEC CEO Jennifer Daloisio. “We’re looking forward to seeing these projects become reality, demonstrating pathways for Massachusetts to reach its transportation, climate and public health goals through public-private partnership.”