Sen. Elizabeth Warren (left) and Sen. Ed Markey (right) speak during the MMA’s Annual Business Meeting on Jan. 20.

Massachusetts has an opportunity to take the lead in seizing federal funding opportunities and tackling significant challenges, the state’s two U.S. senators told local leaders during the MMA Annual Meeting & Trade Show on Jan. 20.

Speaking during the MMA’s Annual Business Meeting, Sen. Elizabeth Warren and Sen. Ed Markey praised municipal officials for their hard work and urged them to be partners in the effort to bring more federal dollars to the Commonwealth. They emphasized funding opportunities made available over the past three years through the Inflation Reduction Act, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and the CHIPS and Science Act.

“This an historic moment of opportunity for Massachusetts,” Warren said. “Together we are delivering much-needed investments in our communities, and our motto must be, ‘Make hay while the sun shines.’”

The senators detailed the federal funds that the state’s entire congressional delegation has worked to support over the past three years. Markey said the delegation has brought back a total of $135 billion, about 2.5 times the size of the state’s annual budget, including $372 million toward the replacement of the Cape Cod bridges and more than $1.1 billion in water infrastructure projects.

Warren pointed to nearly $8 billion alone for infrastructure, public safety, research and transportation, including $185 million for broadband and $275 million for public transit.

Warren said fights are coming on Capitol Hill around child care and housing. She said $50 billion in federal pandemic-era funding for child care providers has expired, and she is fighting for an additional $16 billion in supplemental funding to prevent more closures of child care centers. She is also pushing for the Child Care for Every Community Act, which she said would lower child care costs for all working parents, and would ensure that half of America’s families pay no more than $10 a day for child care. Right now, she said, government support for child care in the United States ranks 33rd out of the 37 richest countries.

“When was the last time you heard someone chant, ‘We’re number 33!’?” Warren asked the audience. “That is obscene, and it is just plain dumb. We need to make big bold investments in child care.”

To respond to the country’s 7 million unit housing shortage, Warren said she has a bill that would invest more than $40 billion annually to reduce building costs and encourage new housing construction. She lauded the Healey-Driscoll administration’s $4 billion housing bond bill to address the housing crisis in Massachusetts.

Markey discussed the urgency of climate change, and acknowledged the damage that last year’s floods inflicted on farms and infrastructure throughout the state. He said that Boston’s last winter was 7 degrees warmer than winters were in the 1970s, and that the nearby Gulf of Maine is the second-fastest warming body of water on the planet, after the Arctic. He said Barnstable County ranks third among counties nationwide in needing help with sea-level rise, he said.

“In 1775, Paul Revere warned Massachusetts revolutionaries of an invasion coming from the sea,” Markey said. “With climate change, low-lying areas of the Bay State are facing an invasion of the sea itself.”

But there’s also good news around climate work and clean energy, Markey said. Spending on renewable energy is now surpassing spending on various types of fossil fuels, and 1.4 million electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids were sold last year, whereas there were only 2,000 electric vehicles in the country 15 years ago. Meanwhile, the new offshore Vineyard Wind will be able to generate 800 megawatts of electricity, 200 megawatts more than the former Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station.

“This is an incredible moment,” Markey said. “You are the leaders, if you focus upon it. You’re going to be able to make a huge difference in the relationship that exists between our state, our country, our world, and the threat of climate change.”

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