Gov. releases updated 5-year capital spending plan

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On Oct. 9, Gov. Deval Patrick released an updated, five-year capital investment plan that would spend $16.7 billion through fiscal 2017 to repair and replace aging state and local capital facilities and invest in new projects intended to support long-term economic growth.

The five-year plan includes $1.5 billion for Community Investments that range from local road and bridge projects under Chapter 90 to library construction grants to environmental projects.

The largest share of investment plan dollars – $8.2 billion – is slated for state transportation projects over the next five years.

The full capital plan, including a list of approved projects for fiscal 2013, can be found at www.mass.gov/bb/cap/fy2013/rec/hdefault.htm.

The plan is the sixth filed by the governor and covers the period fiscal 2013 through fiscal 2017. The $16.7 billion in spending would be supported by $10.3 billion in state bond funds, with the balance from federal reimbursements and other smaller revenue sources.

For fiscal 2013, the $3.27 billion capital-spending plan is supported by $1.97 billion in state bond funds. The balance is mainly paid for by federal reimbursements totaling $669 million.

The Community Investments share of the amount for this year is $323 million, including $292 million from state bond funds and most of the balance from federal funds. This includes $200 million to pay reimbursements to cities and towns for the cost of local road and bridge costs under the Chapter 90 program. The state Board of Library Commissioners is allocated $16.5 million for local library construction projects.

Federally funded Community Development Block Grants are pegged at $27.7 million.

The state match for the Water Pollution Abatement Trust is $12.9 million to secure federal dollars for the state revolving fund for local water pollution abatement and drinking water projects.

The Urban Park Community Investment Grant program is funded at $15.3 million, the Historic Preservation Grant program at $1.6 million, and the Urban Revitalization Development Grant program at $3.7 million.

The fiscal 2013 Community Investments plan also includes $350,000 for repairs to the Upper Bondsville Dam in Belchertown and $750,000 for the Town Brook Dam in Plymouth, both deemed to be potentially hazardous.

The state’s long-term capital plan is based on a “bond cap” established by the Executive Office for Administration and Finance as an administrative guideline for annual bond issuance. The cap includes a policy of keeping total debt service to 8 percent or less of annual budgeted state revenues. Annual growth in the cap is generally limited to $125 million, although unused amounts from prior years may be carried forward.

Based on this analysis, the bond cap was set at $1.875 billion for fiscal 2013 (before the planned carry-forward from fiscal 2012) at $2 billion for fiscal 2014 and at $2.125 billion for fiscal 2015, with targets forecast for fiscal 2016 and 2017.