Who is a member?
Our members are the local governments of Massachusetts and their elected and appointed leadership.
While making four vetoes and offering five amendments, Gov. Charlie Baker on Wednesday signed a $11.4 billion infrastructure bond bill known as MassTRAC, authorizing investments in the Commonwealth’s roads, bridges, railways, transit agencies and environmental infrastructure.
“The funding authorized under MassTRAC allows the Commonwealth to take full advantage of the increased federal funding opportunities under the [federal Bipartisan Infrastructure Law], including access to an additional $1.8 billion in Federal Highway formula funds and the opportunity to compete for $3.5 billion in discretionary federal grants,” Baker wrote in his signing statement.
The governor approved all bond authorizations in the law. In addition to more than $7.5 billion to support federal highway, state road and BIL projects, the law authorizes nearly $1 billion for specific local transportation projects, $85 million for non-federally funded roads, and $55 million for municipal grants, including the Municipal Pavement Program, Complete Streets, and Shared Streets and Spaces. Additional authorizations will support rail, transit, aeronautics and other programs.
The law also provides $400 million to address MBTA safety improvements, $275 million toward an east-west passenger rail service, and $215 million to support electric vehicle use and expand electric vehicle infrastructure.
The governor vetoed language in three sections that he said were “inconsistent” with Massachusetts Department of Transportation and MBTA operations and capital planning “or will not meet the intended objective.”
The governor also vetoed four outside sections: two that proposed additional required reporting on construction projects from owner’s representatives; a proposal requiring the MBTA to provide parking during construction projects; and a proposed car sharing surcharge exemption.
The governor proposed amendments that would clarify the use of blue lights to include only MassDOT motor vehicles; streamline proposed reporting on MBTA safety and hiring; clarify MBTA train electrification technology; and expand a proposed Mobility Pricing Commission to include eight additional representatives from the automotive, trucking, engineering, construction, restaurant, hospitality, health, and retail industries.
Policy provisions included in the law reduce reporting requirements for municipalities receiving less than $25,000 in Transportation Enhancement Trust Fund disbursements, and define, classify and regulate electronic bikes (e-bikes) while preserving municipal authority over their use on local paths.
The MMA has supported MassTRAC since the governor filed the original bill on March 17. During the legislative process, the MMA testified in support at hearings held by the Joint Committee on Transportation, Joint Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures, and State Assets, and the conference committee, continually expressing support for the bill’s intent — to ensure Massachusetts is well-positioned to leverage federal aid — while highlighting funding to maintain non-federally funded roads, investments in key municipal grant programs, and targeted investments in municipal projects.
The governor’s amendments now go to the Legislature for consideration. Legislators must decide whether to accept a governor’s amendment, reject it, or return a bill back to him. Informal sessions require unanimous consent for legislation to be passed, however, which could affect if and when legislators consider the amendments.