DUXBURY – Duxbury’s state legislative delegation has joined together to renew calls on Governor Deval Patrick to release $100 million in already authorized Chapter 90 funding for our cities and towns.
In a letter sent to the Governor this past Thursday, Rep. Josh Cutler (D-Duxbury), Rep. Tom Calter (D-Kingston) and Sen. Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth) jointly called for the prompt release of the funds. Chapter 90 monies are used to reimburse towns for local roadway and transportation projects. The legislature voted and approved a $300 million Chapter 90 bond bill earlier this year, however the administration has released only $200 million in funds to date.
The difference for the towns of Duxbury would be significant. At a $200 million funding level Duxbury is eligible for state reimbursements of $541,744. At $300 million, the town would eligible for $812,617, or an additional $270,872. The funds are restricted to local road, bridge and infrastructure projects.
In the letter Duxbury’s legislators wrote, “As you are certainly well aware, this money is crucial to the maintenance and upkeep of the transportation infrastructure throughout the Commonwealth. Our cities and towns have long waited for the remainder of this funding which has been delivered in a piecemeal fashion that has caused difficulties for cities and towns attempting to implement their own budgets and road maintenance plans.”
The transportation funds have already been voted and authorized by the legislature but can only be released by the executive branch. This is not the first time legislators have taken issue with the administration’s handling of the issue.
The Mass. Municipal Association (MMA) and state legislative leaders in both branches have repeatedly voiced their support for the $300 million funding level and called on Governor Patrick to release the money.
"It’s perplexing," said MMA Executive Director Geoff Beckwith. “His decision flies in the face of what Chapter 90 is supposed to do for this state. Citizens will drive on local roads. They will continue to be in worse condition."
The administration released $150 million in May and another $50 million at the end of July, but the result is level funding of the program, rather than the $100 million increase the Legislature intended and local officials were expecting. Despite repeated requests since then to release the Chapter 90 funds, the administration has refused, citing other spending priorities.
“It is now incumbent thatthe Administration supports the needs of our municipalities by carrying out the funding that we all have promised,” Rep. Cutler, Rep. Calter and Sen. Hedlund wrote. “To deny them funds for vital road projects not only steps back from our joint commitment to improve our transportation infrastructure, but also our commitment to support local funding to our partner cities and towns.”
The letter to Governor Patrick was originally authored by Rep. Peter Durant of Worcester and is co-signed by more than 40 state legislators.