In full transparency, the following press release was submitted to SOURCE media by MassDOT.
BOSTON – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) announced the submission of several federal grant applications seeking competitive, discretionary funding through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) for major capital investment needs across the Commonwealth in coordination with its federal and local partners, including replacement of the federally-owned Bourne and Sagamore Bridges and construction of the Allston Multimodal Project.
“MassDOT is grateful for the work of Massachusetts’ Congressional delegation in passing the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and we are excited to be moving ahead in coordination with our federal and local partners to pursue and compete for every federal dollar possible to replace and modernize aging infrastructure to improve the safety and reliability of our transportation network and support initiatives around housing, economic development, climate resiliency, and equity,” said Massachusetts Transportation Secretary and CEO Jamey Tesler. “MassDOT has been preparing internally for months to take full advantage of these new federal funding opportunities, including streamlining the contract and procurement process, and hiring additional personnel to ramp up project capacity. In addition to applying for this round of BIL grants, we stand prepared to apply for additional BIL funding opportunities when they are made available and we continue to seek other financial resources outside of what the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law can offer, including state resources provided for in the Baker-Polito Administration’s MassTRAC legislation, to get many important projects off the ground.”
The BIL authorized approximately 35 discretionary, competitive grant programs to be administered by the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) over 5 years, with total funding in excess of $110 billion.
The first round of the Multimodal Project Discretionary Grant (MDPG) Opportunity, with an application deadline of May 23, and for which MassDOT is competing and announcing application submissions, represent only approximately $2.9 billion of this funding to be made available. Future rounds and additional grant opportunities are expected to be made available by USDOT at future dates.
The $2.9 billion MDGP round allows eligible applicants to apply for three discretionary grant programs — INFRA, MEGA, and RURAL — by filing a single application.
MassDOT and its partners have submitted grant applications for the following capital investment projects:
- Bourne and Sagamore Bridge Replacement: MassDOT has been actively working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) to provide the technical expertise necessary to prepare the Corps’ application for federal INFRA and MEGA funding to replace the federally owned Bourne and Sagamore Bridges, which provide the only roadway connection on and off Cape Cod for the 263,000 residents of the Cape and Islands, as well as the 5 million annual visitors. The project has a total estimated cost of $3.976 billion and would replace both bridges and improve the adjoining roadway network. MassDOT has been collaborating closely with members of Massachusetts’ delegation and the USACE to ensure that federal discretionary funding is available and sought to replace the federally owned bridges, while continuing to ensure that other infrastructure needs across the Commonwealth can likewise be prioritized and addressed for competitive grant opportunities. MassDOT’s INFRA and MEGA grant applications filed today, seek a total of $1.113 billion for USACE project needs.
- Allston Multimodal Project: MassDOT and the City of Boston are co-applicants for a MEGA grant seeking $1.191 billion for this project, (which has a total project cost estimated to be $1.985 billion). The project is an opportunity to dramatically improve livability and connectivity for residents of the Allston neighborhood in Boston while preserving and enhancing regional mobility through improvements to I-90 and its abutting interchange and the creation of a new passenger rail stop on the Worcester/Framingham MBTA Commuter Line to be known as West Station. The MBTA also intends to file for BIL funding for rail needs regarding the Allston Multimodal Project.
- Schell Pedestrian Bridge in Northfield: MassDOT has filed a RURAL grant application seeking $24.5 million for this project which would replace a historic bicycle, pedestrian, and snowmobile bridge over the Connecticut River in Northfield. The total project cost is estimated to be $60.6 million.
Additionally, MassDOT filed applications for a pre-BIL funding round of the Consolidated Rail Infrastructure and Safety Improvements (CRISI) Program through the USDOT Federal Railroad Administration (FRA) for two projects improving the safety and operation of passenger and freight rail corridors in Western Massachusetts.
- Knowledge Corridor Project: A CRISI grant application was filed seeking $12 million for safety and other improvements along this passenger rail corridor which runs parallel to the Connecticut River in Western Massachusetts. Amtrak Police data indicates the highest number of calls for service and incidents within the New England Division occur on the Knowledge Corridor Rail Line. This project would provide critical safety improvements, including fiber-optic cable, fencing, radio bases, aerial and ground surveillance, CCTV cameras, and blue light stations. The grant will also support the development of a real-time Amtrak surveillance center at Springfield’s Union Station.
- Springfield Area Track Reconfiguration Project: A CRISI grant application was filed seeking $1.75 million to fund preliminary engineering and environmental evaluation of this project to address conflicts between freight and passenger trains, capacity restrictions, functionality and availability of layover facilities, and improved accessibility at Springfield Union Station.
The Baker-Polito Administration has been seeking funding for infrastructure projects from many sources, including municipalities which are in the project areas and from state government resources. In March, the Administration filed an infrastructure bond bill, “An Act Relative to Massachusetts’s Transportation Resources and Climate,” (MassTRAC), which would authorize state matching funds and tools necessary to compete for, unlock and leverage federal investments in transportation and environmental infrastructure from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. This bill is pending approval now in the Massachusetts Legislature.
Provisions of MassTRAC would enable MassDOT and the MBTA to use certain project procurement and delivery tools that could speed the implementation of BIL funded projects, as well as regular project delivery. MassDOT and the MBTA would be authorized to pilot the A + B procurement method to allow the time to complete a project to be considered in bid evaluation and award. Additionally, Private Development Mitigation/Transit Oriented Development authorization would allow MassDOT and the MBTA to enter into development agreements that include transportation and other public benefits without having to separately bid for those elements.