BOSTON – Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker signed An Act Financing Improvements to Municipal Roads and Bridges (H. 2783) on May 4, authorizing $200 million in Chapter 90 transportation funds for municipalities across the Commonwealth this construction season.
Chapter 90 transportation funding supports reimbursing municipalities for road-related construction projects and comes from general obligation bond issuances.
Framingham was awarded $1.9 million in Chapter 90 money from the Commonwealth in the fiscal year 2017.
Also included in the bill is $60 million to fund the Registry of Motor Vehicles’ software platform, known as ATLAS, and $30 million to reauthorize the Mobility Assistance Program (MAP).
“Local transportation funding for cities and towns across Massachusetts has been a priority for our administration since the first day we took office,” said Governor Baker, in a statement. “State support to repair local roads and improve safety is critical for the people, businesses, and first responders of Massachusetts. We are also pleased this legislation includes funding to continue the state’s mobility assistance program for the disabled and elderly, as well as overhaul the Registry’s software system to improve operations and customer service.”
“Across the Commonwealth, local officials count on this support for important transportation improvements in their cities and towns,” said Lt. Governor Polito, in a press release. “We are pleased to provide $200 million in funding again this year and thank the legislature for their collaboration to authorize these funds in time for this upcoming construction season.”
In total, since taking office in 2015, the Baker-Polito Administration has released $700 million in Chapter 90 infrastructure funds.
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.
Chapter 90 funds must be allocated to roadway projects, such as resurfacing and related work like preliminary engineering including State Aid/Consultant Design Agreements, right-of-way acquisition, shoulders, side road approaches, landscaping and tree planting, roadside drainage, structures (including bridges), sidewalks, traffic control and service facilities, street lighting (excluding operating costs), and for such other purposes as the MassDOT may specifically authorize.
“I am pleased that the administration is once again able to provide this important funding to our cities and towns,” said Administration and Finance Secretary Kristen Lepore. “Chapter 90 funding is just one of the many ways that the Baker-Polito administration supports our communities through both our capital and operating budgets.”
“This funding underscores our administration’s commitment to work in close collaboration with municipal partners and support their economic development and infrastructure priorities,” said Transportation Secretary and CEO Stephanie Pollack, in a press release. “We can continue to improve the quality of life in our communities and use transportation infrastructure as a tool to achieve economic goals if we continue to provide capital dollars to cities and towns and allow municipal officials to be empowered to improve their own infrastructure.”
The ATLAS software program will replace the increasingly outdated system known as ALARS and enable the issuance of Real ID compliant credentials, allow more online transactions for individual customers as well as business customers and government partners, and improve service delivery overall.
The funding provided for MAP in this legislation will be used mainly to help Councils on Aging, Regional Transit Authorities (RTAs), and other providers purchase lift-equipped vans that will be used to transport elderly and disabled customers. MassDOT is able to combine MAP funding with federal support each year to fund 80% of the purchase price for 140 vans awarded to community and regional organizations across the Commonwealth. MAP dollars are also dedicated on an annual basis for MassDOT to provide technical assistance to RTAs and other grantees.