On March 18, the Joint Committee on Transportation released a new version of a fiscal 2025 Chapter 90 bond bill that would reduce the authorization to one year at $200 million — the governor had proposed $400 million over two years – and would add authorizations for $175 million for specified transportation-related programs.

The revised bill mirrors what was approved by the Legislature in fiscal 2024, with $25 million in supplemental funding for rural roads and proposed authorizations of $25 million for each of the following multi-year grant programs:
Municipal Pavement Program
Municipal Small Bridge Program
Complete Streets
• Municipal Bus Enhancement Program
• Mass Transit Access grant program
• Municipal/RTA Electric Vehicle Fleets program

Last year’s transportation bond act created the new rural roads supplemental funding program, but it has yet to be apportioned. The law tasked the Massachusetts Department of Transportation with creating a formula that would prioritize communities with populations of less than 10,000 and population densities of fewer than 500 people per square mile.

The revised fiscal 2025 bond bill introduces a formula to guide the disbursement of the rural road funding for fiscal 2025, recommending that the distribution be weighted 20% on local road mileage, 20% on population, and 60% on whether the municipality is considered rural.

This formula is also likely to guide the disbursement of fiscal 2024 rural roads supplemental funding that is forthcoming.

The revised bond bill (H. 4488) was referred to the Joint Committee on Bonding, Capital Expenditures and State Assets, which held a written-testimony-only hearing on March 26. (See the MMA’s testimony.)

Gov. Maura Healey proposed additional funding to support local road and bridge maintenance in her state budget plan, with $124 million in supplemental funding financed by “Fair Share” surtax revenue. Of this amount, $100 million would supplement the Chapter 90 program using the Chapter 90 formula, and $24 million would support the rural roads program.

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