MMA continues push for Ch. 90 funds

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With the Chapter 90 authorizations from the most recent state transportation bond nearly exhausted, the MMA is urging the governor to file a Chapter 90 bill as soon as possible. The association is also asking the Legislature to make a new authorization a priority and state leaders to increase the authorization amount and the annual allocation.

The state funds the Chapter 90 program by issuing bonds and notifying each community of its allocation by April 1 of each year. The April 1 notification date is essential – and was put into state law at the MMA’s urging because communities need time to plan and make maximum use of the funds during the full construction season. In the past, late notification led to unnecessary and costly delays in projects.

In fiscal 2011, cities and towns received $155 million from Chapter 90. Last year the governor and the Legislature increased that amount to $200 million.

At the MMA Annual Meeting in January, Lt. Gov. Tim Murray announced that the administration would again file a $200 million bond authorization for fiscal 2013, though a bill has not yet been filed.

Based on surveys of municipalities, the MMA contends that the actual needs of cities and towns are at least $300 million a year, much higher than the Chapter 90 authorizations.

In January, the MMA membership passed a resolution calling for passage of a three-year Chapter 90 bond authorization, allocating $300 million per year, in time to meet the statutory April 1 deadline.

In a meeting early this year with the MMA, Sen. Thomas McGee of Lynn, co-chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation, committed to “fast-track” a Chapter 90 bill.

At the Feb. 14 meeting of the Local Government Advisory Committee, MMA members urged the administration to increase the Chapter 90 authorization and to file a Chapter 90 bill as soon as possible.