Massachusetts governor introduces $18 billion transportation bond bill
August 1, 2019
The Massachusetts governor has filed a five-year, $18 billion bond bill touted to invest in the state’s transportation system. Included is a first-of-its-kind plan to keep commuters off roadways during peak congestion.
Gov. Charlie Baker said that bond authorization would be used to fund existing programs and initiatives intended to reduce roadway congestion and “ensure reliable travel throughout the Commonwealth.”
Specifically, the plan outlines $10.1 billion for Massachusetts Department of Transportation highway division construction projects. Of that amount, $5.6 billion would be routed to federal aid highway construction, and $3.1 billion would be designated for highway work not supported by the federal government. Another $1.25 billion would be applied for bridges and $150 million would be spent to pave area roads.
The Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority would get $5.7 billion to modernize operations.
The Baker administration says the bill would provide the Massachusetts DOT with tools and resources to attain having 70% of noninterstate pavement in good or excellent condition.
“This $18 billion transportation bond bill would enable the creation of several new programs focused on strengthening the MBTA system, improving highways and bridges, supporting municipal roadway projects, and addressing climate change and congestion across Massachusetts,” Lieutenant Gov. Karyn Polito said in prepared remarks.
One initiative in the bill would provide incentives to encourage employers to keep workers off the road during peak congestion times via a tax credit for companies that support employees who work from home or remote locations.
A $2,000-per-employee tax credit would be available. The credits would be capped at $50 million for all employers in the state.
Additionally, a $50 million local bottleneck reduction program would address congestion hotspots through smart signaling, improved traffic signs, new roadway striping, and minor configuration and access changes.
The governor’s bond bill, H4002, must pass the Massachusetts Legislature to take effect.