Who is a member?
Our members are the local governments of Massachusetts and their elected and appointed leadership.
On June 23, the House unanimously passed a revised version of Gov. Charlie Baker’s transportation bond bill, known as MassTRAC, while expanding the bill’s total value to approximately $11 billion.
Prior to the House vote, the chamber’s Committee on Ways and Means added $400 million in spending to the bill to address safety needs highlighted by the Federal Transit Administration’s ongoing review of the MBTA, and $250 million to support planning, design, permitting, engineering, public engagement, acquisition of interests in land, vehicle procurement, and construction of a rail line to connect the eastern and western parts of the state.
The Ways and Means Committee removed amendments from the Joint Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets that would have created a Dorchester Bay Transportation and Resiliency Commission and a South Boston Waterfront Transportation Safety and Improvement Commission.
House members submitted 369 amendments to the bill, of which 304 were consolidated and unanimously approved. The majority of items included in a nearly $560 million “Consolidated Amendment A” are earmarks that would fund municipal transportation projects.
Additional amendments of note to cities and towns include the following:
• The proposed creation of a “Mobility Pricing Commission” to study and recommend action related to equitable public transportation pricing, roadway pricing, and congestion pricing. The MMA would have two seats on the commission for appointees from different regions. The commission would be required to submit a final report by July 1, 2023.
• A proposal to reduce reporting requirements — from once a year to once every five years — for municipalities that receive less than $25,000 per year in funding from the Transportation Trust Fund.
• A proposal to allow for a 30-day appeal process for municipalities that would be affected by MBTA service elimination.
The MMA submitted written testimony in support of MassTRAC to the Transportation Committee for its hearing on April 12, and testified in support of the bill at a June 1 hearing with the Joint Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets.
Throughout the evolution of this bill, the MMA has voiced support for its overall intent — to ensure that Massachusetts is well-positioned to access the historic federal investments available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law — as well as the initial proposed investment of $55 million for municipal grant programs, including Complete Streets, and $85 million for non-federally funded roads.
MassTRAC includes BIL-related authorizations for formula-based and discretionary funding, as well as authorizations for non-BIL related capital investment programs and projects.
Initially filed by the governor on March 17 as a $9.7 billion bond bill, An Act Relative to Massachusetts’s Transportation Resources and Climate would invest in existing state programs and make authorizations for required state matches to compete for and capitalize on investment opportunities provided by the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. The BIL provides discretionary funding through formula-based allocations and more than $110 billion in competitive grants to be overseen by the U.S. Department of Transportation and dispersed over five years.
The administration has said the spending would be used to modernize the state’s transportation system, with a focus on transportation network improvements and infrastructure geared toward climate change mitigation, resiliency, equity and safety for all users, particularly cyclists and pedestrians. Investments would include improvements to non-interstate highways; funding for several municipal grant programs, including Complete Streets, the Municipal Small Bridge Program, the Municipal Pavement Program, and Shared Streets and Spaces; modernization of the MBTA; support for regional transit authorities; grants for electric vehicle charging infrastructure; and funding for transportation management associations.
MassTRAC is now before the Senate for consideration.