The House today passed a $1.6 billion fiscal 2022 supplemental budget bill with funding for winter road repairs and provisions to extend rules for expanded outdoor dining and takeout cocktails.

A large portion of the spending bill (H. 4532) is dedicated to COVID pandemic response and recovery efforts, including expanded testing, vaccination sites and workforce development.

The bill includes $100 million for a winter road recovery program for municipalities. Funds could be used for projects including the rehabilitation, reconstruction, resurfacing or preservation of roadways. Grant funds could also be used to repair or replace traffic control devices, signage, guardrails, and storm grates, as well as road striping or painting.

The bill would extend the expansion of outdoor dining that was initially created in response to the public health emergency. Under an executive order issued in 2020, municipalities were permitted to use an expedited process to approve temporary permits for new or expanded outdoor dining and alcohol service. The rules had been extended by legislation, but are currently set to expire on April 1. The House bill would extend the rules through April 1, 2023.

Similarly, an emergency provision allowing restaurants to sell beer, wine, and cocktails to go, set to expire on May 1, would receive an extension through April 1, 2023.

The House bill does not include two municipal priorities that were in the original version of the bill, filed by Gov. Charlie Baker in February: a $100 million one-time supplemental appropriation for the Chapter 90 local road and bridge program, and $150 million for environmental initiatives, including the Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness Program.

The bill now heads to the Senate for consideration.

Written by