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June 22, 2021 12:30 PM, EDT

Massachusetts' $2.65 Billion Capital Plan Includes Funds for Transportation

Infrastructure Workers fix a road in Boston. (Scott Eisen/Bloomberg News)

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Massachusetts leaders recently announced a $2.65 billion Capital Plan, which includes millions for improving transportation infrastructure and bottlenecks.

The plan accounts for fiscal 2022 and along with transportation outlines investments in climate resiliency, education, housing and health and human services.

“We are continuing to invest in local cities and towns in order to support the ongoing recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito. “By providing capital funding for education, public safety, information technology and other infrastructure projects, we can help reinvigorate the economy and ensure Massachusetts has a bright and prosperous future.”

Specific to transportation, $200 million was set aside for the Chapter 90 program, which reimburses cities and towns for approved projects such as highway construction and preservation projects. Gov. Charlie Baker’s administration has invested approximately $1.3 billion through the Chapter 90 program.

Some $10 million will go toward the administration’s Municipal Small Bridge Program, which assists cities and towns with efforts to replace or preserve bridges with spans between 10 and 20 feet. Since the program’s start in fiscal 2017, some $49.9 million has been distributed across 117 grants.

For its Local Bottleneck Reduction Program, some $2.5 million was allocated. Specifically, the program would fund congestion relief solutions such as restriping, lane and shoulder width adjustments, signal improvements, ramp alterations and signage.

An investment of $15 million was made for the Municipal Pavement Program, which will provide funds through partnerships or grants to municipalities to help them repair and replace roadway pavement.

Mass. Capital Plan by Transport Topics on Scribd

The Local Bottleneck Reduction Program and the Municipal Pavement Program were authorized through the Transportation Bond Bill that Baker signed earlier this year. The $16 billion bond bill included funding to modernize multiple modes of transportation.

The Capital Plan’s investments in transportation and economic development are meant to strengthen the state’s system as more people return to in-person work.

“As Massachusetts emerges from the pandemic, our FY22 Capital Plan aims to strengthen and modernize infrastructure throughout the commonwealth in ways that promote opportunity,” Baker said. “These meaningful investments will encourage economic growth and strengthen existing initiatives around housing, climate resiliency, health and human services and food security — critical priorities that have proven even more important as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.”

Some $94 million was dedicated to the MassWorks program, which provides municipalities and other public entities with funding for infrastructure projects to spur economic development.

In terms of maritime economy, $10 million will go toward Seaport Economic Council grants, which support Massachusetts’ 78 coastal communities. Funding was also distributed for inland dams and seawalls, the Coastal Resilience Grant Program and river restoration projects.

According to the governor’s office, the funding outlined in the Capital Plan will complement more than $100 billion awarded to Massachusetts residents, businesses and government agencies throughout the COVID-19 public health emergency.

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