Who is a member?
Our members are the local governments of Massachusetts and their elected and appointed leadership.
The Joint Committee on Transportation yesterday reported out a Chapter 90 bill that would level-fund the local road funding program at $200 million for fiscal 2022 while adding $75 million across three municipal transportation grant programs administered by the Department of Transportation.
The new bill (H. 3852) would update the funding authorization in a transportation bond bill passed in January to add $75 million, split evenly among the Municipal Small Bridge Program (increasing it from $70 million to $95 million); a municipal bus transit program (increasing it from $25 million to $50 million); and a municipal program to enhance access to mass transit and commuter rail stations (increasing it from $25 million to $50 million).
The additional authorizations proposed in H. 3852 would be bond-funded.
The bill was sent to the Joint Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets, which is accepting only written testimony through June 3 at 1 p.m.
At a March 9 Transportation Committee hearing — and at many previous hearings — the MMA urged legislators to increase Chapter 90 funding to at least $300 million per year, and to support a multiyear bill in order to provide predictability for cities and towns. The state has added several targeted, competitive road funding opportunities for municipalities in recent years, but the MMA argued that “there is no substitute for the core Chapter 90 program,” which is “the only non-competitive program that maintains local control over how to spend the dollars on local road projects” and the only one that benefits all 351 cities and towns.
The MMA also emphasized the importance of finalizing the Chapter 90 bill as quickly as possible so that cities and towns can access their allotment and begin the spring construction season on time. The Transportation Committee, however, held the bill for nearly two months this spring.
Chapter 90 has been level-funded at $200 million since 2012, with a few one-time exceptions.
The MMA filed a standalone Chapter 90 bill, sponsored by Sen. Adam Hinds, that would fund the Chapter 90 program at $300 million per year for two years. The bill (SB. 2338) has not yet been assigned a hearing date.
Through the Chapter 90 program, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation reimburses cities and towns for costs incurred for eligible transportation projects. Funding is awarded by municipality and is predetermined by a formula that includes factors such as population, road miles, and employment.