The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has announced that $25 million in supplemental funding included in a fiscal 2024 transportation bond bill is now available to municipalities for road and bridge repair and construction.

By statute, the Rural Roadway Funding Program will be distributed to all communities through a formula that favors rural communities, with apportionments based 20% on road miles, 20% on population, and 60% on whether a community is considered rural. For this program, rural communities are defined as having a population of less than 10,000 and a population density of fewer than 500 people per square mile.

On April 9, MassDOT said apportionments have been added to each city and town’s Chapter 90 account. The funding must be spent according to Chapter 90 rules and procedures, with no spending deadline.

The Rural Roadway program provides significant supplemental support for many rural communities, in some cases matching or even exceeding a community’s typical Chapter 90 apportionment. In communities that have very limited tax bases and ability to generate additional revenue — but many miles of local roads — the additional funding can be transformational to support keeping local roads and bridges in a state of good repair.

Fiscal 2025
The transportation bond bill currently before the Legislature, for fiscal 2025, includes $200 million for Chapter 90, $150 million in authorizations for transportation-related accounts, and a $25 million authorization to continue the Rural Roads Funding Program. The House and Senate both passed the bill this month, but it awaits final enactment before it can be sent to the governor for her approval.

Additional supplemental funding for municipal roads and bridges has been proposed in the fiscal 2025 state budget process. The budget bill proposed by the governor in January included $124 million in supplemental support. The budget plan released by the House Ways and Means Committee on April 10 proposed $25 million to supplement Chapter 90, funded through Fair Share surtax revenues.

The MMA is advocating for at least $350 million in discretionary funding for municipal roads and bridges in fiscal 2025. With $225 million set to be enacted through the transportation bond bill, supplemental aid is sought through the state budget process.

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