MMA seeks to assess Ch. 90 needs

Print Email

On Sept. 7, the MMA sent a survey to all cities and towns asking about their road construction budgets, pavement management systems, local roadway appropriations, and future construction projects.

The results will help the MMA assess what communities need to maintain their roads and will be a useful tool in making the case for an increase in the authorization amount and annual allocation for the Chapter 90 local road and bridge program.

Through the survey, the MMA is working to document and compile the transportation needs of cities and towns. The results will be used in testimony for the 12 to 15 public hearings the administration is planning on transportation infrastructure and finance next year.

The survey was sent to the chief municipal official in each community as well as the public works director or highway superintendent. More than one-third of municipalities had returned their surveys by mid-September.

Danvers Assistant Town Manager Diane Norris, who chairs the MMA’s Policy Committee on Transportation and Public Works, said that the MMA’s 2010 survey provided “clear documentation,” that at least $300 million is required to support basic local road and bridge needs.

While the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority has garnered headlines for its $161 million deficit, she said, cities and towns are facing a $1.3 billion shortfall for transportation infrastructure needs.

“Almost as important as the money, and maybe more,” she said, “is the commitment to a long-term solution.”

The MMA is urging the governor and Legislature to make new Chapter 90 authorizations an early priority in the legislative session that will begin in January and to increase the amount of the annual allocation.

Chapter 90 authorizations have remained at $200 million for the past two years. The MMA continues to make the case that the actual needs of cities and towns are much higher than the authorizations.