The MMA testified before the Joint Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets today to strongly support Gov. Charlie Baker’s $9.7 billion transportation bond bill, known as MassTRAC.

In a letter to the committee, the MMA said the bill (H. 4798) “provides strategic capital investments alongside authorizations necessary to access the unprecedented funding available through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.”

The MMA highlighted the bill’s proposed investment of $55 million for municipal grant programs and $85 million for non-federally funded roads, as well as increases made by the Joint Committee on Transportation to regional transit authorities and $25 million for grants to reduce vehicle congestion, improve air quality, and enhance transportation demand.

“H. 4798 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 while ensuring our residents are safe and healthy,” the MMA wrote.

The governor filed An Act Relative to Massachusetts’s Transportation Resources and Climate, or MassTRAC, on March 17.

In addition to investing in existing state programs, MassTRAC includes authorizations for required state matches to compete for and capitalize on investment opportunities provided by the $1.2 trillion Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, which 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 says the MassTRAC bill would provide authorizations necessary to ensure the Commonwealth is well-positioned to win the federal grants.

MassTRAC includes:
• $2.85 billion in BIL-related authorizations for formula-based funding
• $3.55 billion in BIL-related authorizations for discretionary grants
• $3.3 billion in non-BIL authorizations for capital investment programs

The proposed 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 the Shared Streets and Spaces grant program; modernization of the MBTA; support for regional transit authorities; grants for electric vehicle charging infrastructure; and funding for transportation management associations.

The MMA also submitted written testimony supporting the bill before a hearing by the Joint Committee on Transportation on April 12.

The Transportation Committee favorably reported an amended version of the bill on May 18.

The committee’s amendments would increase total spending by $46.5 million and add a handful of policy provisions. The allotment for regional transit authorities would increase by $21.5 million, along with $25 million added for grants to reduce vehicle congestion, improve air quality, and enhance transportation demand management activities.

The committee’s bill would also mandate a minimum of $6 million per year for the Industrial Rail Access Program and $25 million for grants under the MassEVIP Direct Current Fast Charging Program, which helps property owners with publicly accessible parking and educational campuses acquire electric vehicle fast charging stations.

The Transportation Committee added policy provisions that would:
• Require the MBTA to provide adequate commuter parking during construction on MBTA parking facilities
• Authorize a three-project pilot program that would permit the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to use “cost-plus-time” bidding
• Revise language to align with a federal requirement for apprenticeships on projects funded through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law
• Revise “Dig Safe” rules to allow the Department of Public Utilities to require completion of a Dig Safe training program, in lieu of fines, for first-time violators

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