Gov. files $200M Chapter 90 bond bill

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Gov. Charlie Baker filed a transportation bond bill yesterday that includes $200 million for the Chapter 90 local road and bridge program.
The bill includes a technical change that would remove a requirement that an appropriation be made by the local legislative body to use the funds.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation reimburses cities and towns for costs incurred for eligible transportation projects through the Chapter 90 program. Chapter 90 funding is distributed to cities and towns through a formula that takes into account population, road miles and employment.
At a meeting of the Local Government Advisory Commission on Feb. 14, Arlington Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine asked the administration to file a multi-year Chapter 90 bond bill at $300 million per year as soon as possible.
Chapdelaine stated a long-held MMA position that $200 million is inadequate for communities across Massachusetts to keep roads in a state of good repair, the industry standard. Cities and towns also face increased construction costs if they don’t receive Chapter 90 funds by April 1 each year.
The governor’s bond bill includes $30 million for a mobility assistance program and regional intercity bus and intermodal service, as well as $70 million for upgrades to the Registry of Motor Vehicles information technology system.
The administration funded Chapter 90 at $200 million annually in the MassDOT and MBTA five-year Capital Investment Plan for 2017-2022. The MMA submitted comments last year asking for an increase in Chapter 90 to $300 million annually, which will allow cities and towns to more properly fund local road and bridge maintenance programs.
The MMA’s 2014 Chapter 90 survey found that cities and towns need $639 million annually to keep 30,000 miles of local roads in a state of good repair.
Download governor’s transportation bond bill filing letter (360K PDF)
Download the text of the transportation bond bill (84K PDF)
Visit MassDOT website for more information about Chapter 90 program