Gov. signs transportation bond bill with $200M for Ch. 90

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Gov. Charlie Baker yesterday signed a transportation bond bill including a one-year, $200 million Chapter 90 bond authorization for fiscal 2018.
The House had approved the compromise bill on April 24, and the Senate voted on May 3.
Download list of Chapter 90 apportionments for each city and town (200K PDF)
Over the past few months, the bond bill had public hearings before the Joint Committee on Transportation and both the House and Senate committees on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets. At each hearing, the MMA requested that the one-year, $200 million Chapter 90 authorization included in the bill be amended to a multi-year, $300 million per year authorization.
The conference committee was charged with reconciling a one-year, $200 million Chapter 90 bond authorization passed by the House and a two-year, $400 million authorization passed by the Senate. There were also several other differences between the House and Senate versions of the legislation.
In a letter to the conference committee, the MMA urged members to report out a Chapter 90 bill as quickly as possible so that the measure can be signed into law and cities and towns can take advantage of the full construction season without further delays.
In keeping with the MMA’s long-standing position, the MMA supported a multi-year, $300-million per year approach to Chapter 90, stressing the importance of a multi-year bill that would allow cities and towns to plan more effectively at the local level. The MMA also stressed that having on-time authorizations is essential, because when cities and towns are forced to bid, award and start work on projects in a significantly shortened construction season, bid responses tend to be the most expensive, making repair work much more costly for local taxpayers.
The legislation contains a technical change that would remove a requirement that an appropriation be made by the local legislative body to use Chapter 90 funds.
The bond bill includes $60 million for upgrades to the Registry of Motor Vehicles’ information technology system and $30 million for transportation for elderly persons and persons with disabilities through purchases for regional transit authorities, councils on aging and other providers.
The Legislature’s transportation bond bill is very similar to the one filed by the governor in February, which included a one-year, $200 million Chapter 90 authorization.