The Legislature on July 31 passed and sent to the governor a final version of an $11.3 billion infrastructure bond bill.

The bond bill, a revised version of the governor’s bill known as MassTRAC, authorizes investments in the Commonwealth’s roads, bridges, railways, transit agencies and environmental infrastructure. A core focus is to provide necessary authorizations for required state matches to compete for and capitalize on investment opportunities provided by the federal $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Bills previously approved individually by the House and Senate varied in funding levels, local earmarks and policy provisions. A six-member conference committee appointed to resolve the differences released a compromise bill on July 30.

The final bill includes the following authorizations:
• More than $7.5 billion for multi-modal state transportation projects and programs, including BIL projects
• $85 million for non-federally funded roads
• $55 million for municipal grants, including municipal pavement and Complete Streets
• $1.38 billion for MBTA modernization
• $400 million for the MBTA to address safety issues highlighted by the ongoing review by the Federal Transit Administration
• $275 million to support the establishment of an east-west passenger rail line
• $25 million for grants to transportation management associations to reduce vehicle congestion, improve air quality, and enhance transportation demand
• $64.9 million for regional transit authorities
• $225 million to support electric vehicle and bike use, reduce emissions, and expand electric vehicle infrastructure

The bill includes nearly $1 billion in authorizations to support specific local transportation projects, as well as several outside sections that address various transportation-related policies. These proposals include:
• Requiring that at least 33% of funding included for Complete Streets grants be awarded to municipalities with a median household income below the state average
• Creating a Mobility Pricing Commission to study and recommend action related to equitable public transportation pricing, roadway pricing, and congestion pricing
• Reducing reporting requirements for municipalities receiving less than $25,000 in Transportation Enhancement Trust Fund disbursements
• Defining, classifying, and regulating electronic bikes while preserving municipal authority over use on local paths

A Senate proposal to require the MBTA to create free and reduced-fare programs, and authorizing regional transit authorities to do so, was not included in the final bill.

The MMA has supported MassTRAC since Gov. Charlie Baker filed it on March 17. An MMA letter to the conference committee stated that, “MassTRAC will enable rapid and extensive improvements in our transportation system, an essential element to facilitating sustainable and resilient economic recovery in all parts of the Commonwealth.” The MMA testified in support at hearings held by the Joint Committee on Transportation, the Joint Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures, and State Assets, and the conference committee.

The MMA expressed support for the bill’s intent — to ensure Massachusetts is well-positioned to leverage federal aid — while also voicing support for funding to maintain non-federally funded roads, investments in key municipal grant programs, and targeted investments in municipal projects.

Gov. Baker has 10 days to either sign, veto or offer amendments to the bill.

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