The Mass. House of Representatives passed transportation legislation focused on highways, small bridges and a municipal grant program. The bill authorizes $750 million for both federal-aid interstate and non-interstate highway projects, and $50 million for a new program to repair small bridges.
“The House has a long-standing history of supporting municipalities and I’m proud that this bill provides tools to help cities and town make improvements that are unique to their needs,” said House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo (D-Winthrop). “Along with the bond authorization for highways, these updates will bolster to the Commonwealth’s entire infrastructure system.”
“I am pleased that we were able to address a number of important transportation issues with this legislation, and I am especially pleased by the adoption of the small bridge program,” said Representative Bill Straus, House chair of the Joint Committee on Transportation. “Cities and towns that have had difficulty identifying funds to repair or replace some of their smaller spans will greatly benefit from this additional $50 million in road and bridge money, and we have structured it in a way that ensures it will be distributed equitably across the state.”
The Small Bridge Program will assist municipalities in repairing and replacing non-federal-aid bridges which are 20 feet or less in length. Funding in any one highway district is limited to 20% of the total appropriation.
The bill also transitions the Complete Streets initiative, currently a part of Chapter 90 funding, to a municipal grant program. This initiative aims to enhance safety and accessibility for multi-modal transportation which includes transportation geared towards pedestrians and cyclists. To qualify municipalities must:
- Attend a training program;
- Adopt a Complete Streets by-law that has been subject to a public hearing;
- Create a Complete Streets prioritization plan.
The bill now goes to the Senate for its consideration.